WeWork Tells Investors It Lost $3.2B In 2020 As It Angles For SPAC Deal
Coworking giant WeWork told existing and potential investors during a presentation that it lost $3.2B last year, Reuters reports, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter. The company wants to go public via a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, or blank check company.
That loss is less than the company suffered in 2019, when $3.5B in red ink helped torpedo WeWork's planned initial public offering. A merger with a SPAC would reportedly value the company at $9B, a steep decline from the $47B WeWork was valued at in early 2019 after raising $1B in a round of funding led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group.
Later in 2019, after WeWork's IPO failed to launch, SoftBank bailed WeWork out again, taking a controlling interest. The coworking specialist has been closing locations and hemorrhaging money since then as the coronavirus pandemic hit its business model hard.
WeWork reported third-quarter revenue of $811M, which represented an 8% drop from Q2, while spending $517M of its cash reserves, down from a $1.2B burn during Q3 2019. Though the company still had about $3.6B left at the time, its problems led credit rating agency Fitch to downgrade WeWork to CCC, meaning at serious risk of default.
WeWork kicked off a turnaround plan early in 2020. Since then, it has exited more than 100 locations, although it has retained over 800 locations globally, Tech Crunch reports. The company also has opened many of its locations to people who don't want to commit to becoming full-time WeWork members.
Earlier this year, WeWork began talks with a blank check company formed by Bow Capital, whose head is Vivek Ranadivé, owner of the NBA's Sacramento Kings. It isn't clear whether that entity, BowX Acquisition Corp., is still considering a WeWork deal.
Bow Capital's SPAC raised $420M in 2020, part of the rapid expansion of SPACs seeking to snap up real estate operations and other kinds of companies. So far in 2021, 288 SPACs have raised $93.8B to invest, a sharp rise from the $83.4B raised among 248 SPACs during all of 2020, SPAC Research reports.