Confirmed: SoftBank to invest $2 billion more in WeWork
People close to WeWork have confirmed to Fast Company that Japan’s SoftBank Corp. will invest an additional $2 billion in the shared workspace company.
The investment will be structured as a $1 billion primary investment and a $1 billion repurchase of shares from employees and existing investors, Fast Company has learned.
As a result of the new capital, WeWork’s investors will value the company at $47 billion, up from $42 billion pre-money.
The deal, while significant, is considerably less than a $10 billion infusion WeWork and SoftBank had discussed as recently as mid-December, a person close to the company said. (News reports in October pegged the negotiations at the $20 billion level.) At one point during deal talks, SoftBank reportedly sought a controlling stake in the company. But roiling markets and economic uncertainty have hit WeWork and its largest investor. Since the beginning of December, SoftBank’s stock price has dropped nearly 20%. At the same time, a highly anticipated IPO of its Japanese telecom business has flailed, sinking over 14% on its first day as a public company–one of the worst first-day declines in Japan.
The new investment brings SoftBank’s commitment to WeWork to more than $10 billion, including investments in WeWork China, a joint venture.
People close to the company say the financing will help fuel cofounder and CEO Adam Neumann’s ambitious growth plans. Since its founding in 2010, WeWork has expanded to include some 335 locations worldwide. It has acquired at least six companies, and pushed into early childhood education through its WeGrow subsidiary. In the fourth quarter of 2018 alone the company had planned to add 100,000 desks to its workplaces.
SoftBank, the equally ambitious company that invests billions through its Vision Fund, first invested in WeWork in 2017.