Adam Neumann Has Reportedly Taken $700M Out Of His WeWork Stake Ahead Of IPO
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Adam Neumann isn't waiting around for The We Company's initial public offering to cash in on his company.
Neumann, the co-founder and CEO of WeWork's parent company, has taken in at least $700M from selling some of his interests in the company and taking out loans against his remaining shares, The Wall Street Journal reports. The move, assisted by JPMorgan Chase, comes as The We Company prepares to test its sky-high valuation with an IPO.
Neumann has long contended that WeWork is a tech company as much as a real estate company, and tech company founders cashing out just before their IPO has often been seen as a warning sign, according to the WSJ. But Neumann combined selling shares with staking debt to his ownership, signifying enough confidence to keep his fortunes tied to the company.
At least two notably disappointing tech IPOs in recent years have been preceded by massive sell-offs from the company's founders, according to the WSJ: social gaming company Zynga and deal aggregator Groupon. The question of how the public market will value WeWork remains one of the most scrutinized storylines in commercial real estate.
Japanese investment giant SoftBank has poured billions of equity and debt into WeWork through the years, and the coworking operator has spent that investment with similar aggression. SoftBank Vision Fund's most recent investment in January valued The We Company at $47B, even though it had lost nearly $2B in 2018.
Neumann also recently opened a family investment office to redeploy his gains and loan capital, the WSJ reports. A big chunk of his capital has already gone to work in real estate, where in addition to several homes Neumann owns in New York and one in the Bay Area, the firm owns office buildings leased to WeWork.