WeWork’s parent company is weighing a dramatic reduction in its valuation as it aims to go public while facing widespread skepticism over its business model and corporate governance, according to people familiar with the matter.
We Co. is considering putting a price tag on its IPO that would value it somewhere in the $20 billion range, potentially at the low end, these people said, less than half of the $47 billion mark where it last raised private capital.
Adam Neumann, We’s co-founder and chief executive, flew to Tokyo last week to meet one of the company’s biggest investors, SoftBank Group Chief Executive Masayoshi Son, and members of his team, the people said. There, they discussed the possibility of an additional infusion of capital, multiple people briefed on the meeting said.
Among the possibilities they discussed was SoftBank serving as an anchor investor in the IPO by buying a significant portion of the roughly $3 billion to $4 billion the company is expected to raise. They also discussed whether SoftBank might invest a chunk of money that would allow We to delay its IPO until 2020, people familiar with the conversations said.
It’s unclear whether SoftBank will ultimately put more money into the company, these people said. Some of the conglomerate’s key investors have previously balked at providing more money to We, people familiar with the matter have said.
Over the past year, SoftBank committed to invest $4 billion in We at a valuation of around $47 billion. It also spent $1 billion to buy existing shares from We employees and investors at a valuation of around $23 billion.