The troubles for The We Company and its main business WeWork are mounting as the Financial Times is reporting that the company’s main backer, SoftBank, is pushing for the company to put its troubled public offering on hold.
Citing sources familiar with the company and its main investor, the Financial Times said the reason is the cool reception The We Company has received from public market investors.
The company needs to raise at least $3 billion in the public offering to trigger $6 billion in debt financing from the very bankers architecting its IPO. If it fails to cross that $3 billion threshold and not have access to that debt, it would be a significant roadblock to The We Company’s global expansion plans. And those plans are vital to the company’s success, as it’s the growth story that the company is selling to public market investors.
Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company was thinking about reducing the amount it would seek in a public offering below the $20 billion figure that had been previously reported.
The We Company had last raised money at a valuation of over $47 billion and the constant reductions in the company’s value may create a self-fulfilling prophecy that pushes the share price down even further should the company go ahead with a public offering.
The company has even taken steps to roll back some of the more egregious financial arrangements that made investors look at the company askance. It added a woman to its board of directors after much public outcry over the board composition and unwound a nearly $6 million agreement the company had made with its chief executive Adam Neumann over the licensing rights to the brand “We.”
Still, Neumann’s control over the company and the mounting losses of the core business sub-leasing long-term commercial rental space to short-term tenants have made public investors balky on The We Company’s long-term prospects.