SoftBank Officially Takes Over WeWork
Confirming yesterday's reports, WeWork announced on Wednesday that it had accepted a $9.5 billion rescue package from Japan's SoftBank Group that would give its biggest investor an over 80% economic interest in the troubled company but not voting control.
As part of the agreement, SoftBank commits to provide significant funding to the WeWork. 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.
After closing, and following the tender offer, SoftBank’s fully diluted economic ownership of WeWork will be approximately 80 percent. Since SoftBank will not hold a majority of voting rights at any general stockholder meeting or board of directors meeting and does not control WeWork, the company will not be a subsidiary of SoftBank.
The rescue package marks the end of an era for WeWork, which was forced to pull a planned public share offering last month and is now valued in the bailout at around $8 billion, versus the $47 billion that a fund-raising valued it in January.
“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 founder Adam Neumann will meanwhile leave the company's board, to be replaced by SoftBank executive and newly appointed Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure.
Neumann, who will remain a "board observer", will also walk away with almost $1 billion in cashed-out stock that he can sell into the tender offer, plus, according to multiple reports, a $500 million credit line from SoftBank to repay a credit facility led by JP Morgan, and a roughly $185 million consulting fee.