WeWork Valuation Could Fall as Low as $10B in IPO

The office-sharing startup is battling concerns over its path to profitability and governance.
Lauren MuskettSeptember 13, 2019

The We Company, owner of the office-sharing startup WeWork, may seek an initial public offering valuing it as low as $10 billion to $12 billion, down from the $47 billion it got in its last private fundraising round in January.

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.

Addressing criticism over its corporate governance, WeWork announced on Friday that it is reducing the voting power of Neumann by half. His superior voting shares will decrease from 20 votes per share to 10, although he will retain majority control of the company, according to a regulatory filing. 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.

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The We Company previously announced that Neumann would return a $5.9 million payment for use of the trademarked word “We” and he also agreed to give the company any profits from real estate deals that he has entered into with the We Company.

Under the plan, no member of Neumann’s family will be on the company’s board and any successor will be selected by the board, eliminating a plan for his wife and co-founder Rebekah Neumann to help pick the successor. She is currently the company’s chief brand and impact officer.

The We Company’s other recent major change was earlier this month when it named Frances Frei as the first female member of its board of directors.

The company also plans to add another director to its board within a year of the IPO, “with a commitment to increasing the board’s gender and ethnic diversity,” according to the filing.

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