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Flex Giant IWG Weighs Breaking Itself Up

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A Regus coworking location in Markham, Ontario.

The world’s largest flexible office firm is considering breaking itself up into different companies to create more value for its shareholders.

Mark Dixon, the founder and chief executive of London-listed IWG, believes the sum of the firm’s parts is worth more than the £2.9B at which it is currently valued by the stock market, Sky News reported.

Options being explored include splitting IWG’s franchise business, wherein other firms pay a license fee to use brands such as Regus and Spaces, from its division that owns and leases property. Also on the table is a U.S. listing of Worka, a flex office comparison and booking app. 

Sky News said Dixon feels a breakup could crystallise value for the company’s shareholders. 

IWG has more than 3,000 locations in more than 150 countries around the world, making it the world’s largest flex office firm by number of desks. 

IWG rejected takeover bids in 2019 from firms including Lone Star and Brookfield, with Brookfield’s bid of 280p a share coming in slightly below the current price of 286p a share. 

Its share price has been on something of a rollercoaster ride for the past few years. 

The company’s shares started 2019 at 212p, then steadily rose to 469p in January 2020, buoyed by growing demand for flex space, those takeover bids and a series of profitable franchise deals. 

But the coronavirus pandemic hit the company hard, with demand for its space dropping dramatically. Its shares had risen to 379p in May this year before falling back on worse-than-expected half-year results. 

Related Topics: Regus, IWG, Mark Dixon, Spaces UK