Unicorn startup WeWork secures $5 billion in new financing package with SoftBank taking 80% ownership of the company
We’ve been reporting about WeWork for about a month now. Today, WeWork announced it has secured a $5 billion funding from SoftBank Group with Japanese giant taking control of the company. As part of the funding agreement, SoftBank will take 80% ownership of the company. The funding will help the struggling unicorn startup to stay afloat and accelerate the company’s path to profitability.
In conjunction with the funding, WeWork’s Board will appoint Marcelo Claure, Chief Operating Officer of SoftBank Group Corp., to the position of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of WeWork, effective upon closing of the accelerated $1.5 billion payment commitment. Adam Neumann, the founder of the Company, will become a Board observer. The size of the Board will be expanded and it will receive voting control over Mr. Neumann’s shares.
In a joint press release, the two companies announced an agreement under which SoftBank commits to provide significant funding to the Company. This includes $5 billion in new financing and the launching of a tender offer by SoftBank of up to $3 billion for existing shareholders. Additionally, SoftBank will be accelerating an existing commitment to fund $1.5 billion. The funding provides WeWork with significant liquidity to execute its business plan to accelerate the Company’s path to profitability and positive free cash flow.
“SoftBank is a firm believer that the world is undergoing a massive transformation in the way people work. WeWork is at the forefront of this revolution. It is not unusual for the world’s leading technology disruptors to experience growth challenges as the one WeWork just faced. Since the vision remains unchanged, SoftBank has decided to double down on the company by providing a significant capital infusion and operational support. We remain committed to WeWork, its employees, its member customers and landlords,” said Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp.
“WeWork is redefining the nature of work by creating meaningful experiences through integrating design, technology and community. The new capital SoftBank is providing will restore momentum to the company and I am committed to delivering profitability and positive free cash flow. As important as the financial implications, this investment demonstrates our confidence in WeWork and its ability to continue to lead in disrupting the commercial real estate market by delivering flexible, collaborative and productive work environments to our customers. I look forward to helping WeWork realize its vision for the benefit of WeWork employees, members, landlords and communities worldwide,” said Marcelo Claure.
Founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, WeWork provides members around the world with space, community, and services through both physical and virtual offerings. Its mission is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. As of Q2 2019, WeWork had 528 locations in over 111 cities and 29 countries.