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SoftBank Puts Another Cool Billion Into WeWork As The Coworking Giant's Losses, Revenues Balloon

SoftBank Group Corp. has ponied up $1B in additional investment for co-working giant WeWork Co. According to WeWork, the investment is in the form of convertible notes, which is a type of short-term loan that will eventually become equity in conjunction with a future round of financing.

A WeWork common area in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan

For the Japanese investor SoftBank, there are two possible outcomes for its short-term debt funding to WeWork: if SoftBank leads a further equity round of at least $1B, the notes will convert into preferred shares at a valuation that the investor sets, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The other possibility is if another investor leads a funding round of $1B or more, SoftBank will get shares at a minimum price of $110/share, which would value the company at $42B, or twice the most recent valuation.

Thus far, Softbank has invested about $4.4B in equity funding into WeWork. The additional funds will allow WeWork to acquire new properties, as well as update its existing offices.

The company has also been aggressively expanding its business to include a multitude of services for all manner of office users, not just WeWork clients.

WeWork said recently that it lost about $723M in the first half of 2018, or more than three times that of the same period last year, the company reported in a financial update to bondholders. Revenue for the first half of 2018 was up to $763.8M, or about twice as much as during the first half of 2017.

"There's significant interest in WeWork equity from large institutions,” WeWork President and Chief Financial Officer Artie Minson told Bloomberg.

The latest SoftBank funding comes in addition to a $500M Series B capital injection from the Japanese investment giant in WeWork China announced in July, which was led by Trustbridge Partners, Temasek, SoftBank and Hony Capital. About a year earlier, WeWork China bagged its first round of investment, also $500M, from SoftBank and Hony Capital.

Chinese WeWork competitor MyDreamPlus Technology Co. in Beijing said on Sunday that it raised $120M in a funding round led by Hillhouse Capital and General Atlantic. The company was founded about three years ago and has a valuation of about $500M, or about a tenth that of WeWork China, the Financial Times reports.