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WeWork is likely to postpone public offering until 2020

WeWork plans USA listing, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany - 04 Apr 2019
The office space purveyor WeWork will postpone IPO plans after investor scrutiny raised serious questions about its business model and leadership.
(Mauritz Antin / EPA-EFE/REX)

WeWork will likely postpone its initial public offering until next year, after co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down as chief executive, according to people familiar with the matter.

The latest delay follows the tumult over Neumann’s handling of the company’s IPO plans, made public in August, that expanded to include doubts about his leadership. He stepped down as CEO Tuesday and will take a new role as nonexecutive chairman, the company said.

Nothing has been finalized and the office-sharing company’s IPO plans could change, the people said.

A representative for WeWork declined to comment.

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WeWork, or We Co. as it was renamed, had initially sought to price its offering by Sept. 27, a person familiar with the matter said this month. Last week, it delayed its IPO roadshow, saying it planned to complete the offering by the end of the year.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that WeWork was unlikely to go public this year.

The delay would sideline what was expected to have been the second-biggest IPO in the U.S. this year. It also threatens a $6-billion credit financing that was contingent on a successful offering. WeWork had touted it as one of the biggest pre-IPO credit facilities ever assembled.

The credit facility will be unwound if the IPO doesn’t happen this year, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

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The company is in talks with investment banks about a new $3-billion loan, which would also be contingent on raising a substantial amount of new equity, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg Tuesday. A likely source of that equity infusion is SoftBank Group Corp., the company’s largest shareholder, they said.


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