WeWork Delays its IPO

The office-sharing startup is pushing back its public debut as investor confidence grows shaky.
Lauren MuskettSeptember 17, 2019

The We Company, owner of the office-sharing startup WeWork, is delaying its IPO as investor confidence grows shaky. The company’s IPO was expected this month, but has now been pushed to at least October. One source says it could be scrapped entirely.

“The We Company is looking forward to our upcoming IPO, which we expect to be completed by the end of the year,” the company said in a statement. “We want to thank all of our employees, members, and partners for their ongoing commitment.”

WeWork has billions of dollars riding on a successful IPO. The company struck a deal last month that would give it access to $6 billion in financing raised by a group of banks, as long as the IPO raises at least $3 billion.

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Reuters reported last week that the company was seeking a valuation in its IPO of between $10 billion and $12 billion, a dramatic discount to the $47 billion valuation it achieved in a private round in January.

Concerns over the company’s path to profitability and governance have played a major part in the stalling the WeWork IPO. There are also concerns over its business model of paying large sums for long-term leases, while waiting signing up tenants for shorter term subscription agreements.

Investors were initially skeptical of the WeWork IPO after founder and CEO Adam Neumann sold shares of the company and took $700 million in loans to invest in additional real estate and other startups.

But other sources viewed his borrowing against his stakes as a sign that he was confident in his company’s long-term success.

In order to address criticism of the company’s corporate governance, WeWork recently announced that it was reducing Neumann’s voting power by half. The company also limited his ability to sell shares in the second and third years after the IPO to no more than 10% of his stock.