WeWork Withdraws IPO Filing
WeWork isn't going public anytime soon.
The coworking giant, less than two months after it filed an initial public offering prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission — a document called an S-1 — has withdrawn that filing, it announced Monday. While the company said it plans to one day go public, it will need to begin the process anew to do that.
The announcement comes as the company faces a daunting task: survival. Co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann was pushed out of his leadership role last week, and new co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham have led a recovery campaign that includes selling off Neumann's acquisitions, like a $60M private jet and social networking company Meetup, and terminating many executives with ties to the charismatic Israeli.
Also last week, the company decided to halt all new leasing activity, the Financial Times reported, a decision that prompted a flood of calls from panicked landlords asking about the status of their deals. Friday, the company backtracked, saying it would honor its commitments and still expand, albeit at a much slower pace.
"We have decided to postpone our IPO to focus on our core business, the fundamentals of which remain strong," Minson and Gunningham said in a statement Monday. "We are as committed as ever to serving our members, enterprise customers, landlord partners, employees and shareholders. We have every intention to operate WeWork as a public company and look forward to revisiting the public equity markets in the future.”
If the IPO had succeeded, WeWork's parent company would have raised close to $3B in new equity, which would have unlocked $6B in new debt from a cadre of banks, the now-pulled S1 indicated. Without that expected infusion of capital, the company — which reported $2.5B of cash on hand at the end of June after losing $700M over the previous six months — needs to come up with more cash or seriously cut spending.
While the new CEOs have already begun purging the executive ranks, thousands more WeWork employees are expected to lose their jobs, The Wall Street Journal reports, and the company is in talks with private investors — including SoftBank, which has injected $10B into WeWork — for more money to keep the business afloat.
Complicating its cash-flow issues is an agreement WeWork made in a bond offering to keep at least $500M in cash on its books, according to the WSJ. S&P Global Ratings downgraded the company's bonds — already in junk territory — again last week.