WeWork is planning its IPO in September, earlier than many investors had anticipated, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
WeWork — for revision’s sake — manages and provides workspaces for enterprise businesses. While it does have some state-of-the-art workspaces, it has been ore in the news for the $47 Billion valuation tag it commands, as of 2019. Needless to say, its once again Softbank, that has continued to push in capital at exorbitant rates and amount, that has resulted in such a valuation.
According to WSJ, the company filed confidentially for an IPO in December after one of its biggest investors SoftBank decided not to buy a controlling stake in the business. As per the WSJ report, WeWork is trying to negotiate an asset-backed loan with Wall Street banks and is expected to raise $5 billion to $6 billion. This loan would reduce the amount the company needs to raise its IPO.
The NY Times reports that WeWork is one of the biggest corporate landlords with about 401,000 memberships spread out across 425 locations.
The company has expanded into other areas such as education and added numerous other services into itself. In 2017, it acquired the Manhattan-based coding academy Flatiron School as well as Meetup which is an online group event organizing service. Last year, it acquired Teem (an office management software company), Designation (a design school) and Managed by Q (a service provider for office tenants).
But the company’s core business which is responsible for 90% of its revenue, though its selling memberships, has experienced major losses. WeWork reported doubled revenue as well as loss last year compared to 2017. It reported a $1.9 billion loss on $1.82 billion revenue in 2018. The Financial Times reported that from March 2018 through March 2019, the company lost $219,000 every hour of every day.
Currently, the company is backed by investors such as SoftBank, Benchmark, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Goldman Sachs among many others. In July, the company’s Co-founder Adam Neumann liquidated $700 million of his WeWork stock prior to its IPO.
WeWork IPO move comes after similar money-losing companies went public this year including Uber, Lyft and Pinterest. Its perhaps more of fear, considering how IPOs went down for the likes of Uber and others. Uber, which raised around $8 billion noted the largest opening this year, but continues to trade much lower than even its listing price. The WSJ, citing people familiar with the matter reported that WeWork is slated to be the second-largest opening this year. But like all other big companies this year which are trading below their initial listings since their big IPOs, it can’t be denied that WeWork might face a similar fate.