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WeWork Reports $2.1B Loss In Q1, Including $500M From Settlement With Adam Neumann

WeWork co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann

WeWork may be turning over a new leaf as it prepares to go public, but it is still losing prodigious sums of money.

The coworking startup-turned-giant lost $2.06B in the first quarter, according to a quarterly earnings report filed by BowX Acquisition Corp. on Thursday. Almost $500M of that loss came from a settlement between WeWork parent company SoftBank Group and WeWork co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann.

The settlement, reached in February to avoid a March trial, was the second-largest loss on WeWork's ledger in Q1. The largest, at a net $553M, is a combination of debt service and interest payments with a change in value for warrants held by SoftBank, according to the filing. The third-largest loss, at $299M, came from impairments due to early terminations of leases as the company worked to reduce its long-term liabilities.

BowX, a special-purpose acquisition company founded by Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé, is in the process of acquiring WeWork, which would put the latter on the public market without needing a traditional IPO. Because the deal has not been finalized, BowX's filing was not a traditional 10-Q report.

WeWork had about $2.2B of liquidity as of the end of the first quarter and expects to reach $3B by the completion of the merger with BowX, according to the filing. The size of its quarterly loss, nearly quadruple that of Q1 last year, is in part due to the one-time costs of the Neumann settlement and its lease exits, but the company's free cash flow for the first quarter was negative $663M, $35M worse than in Q4.

WeWork's operational reporting painted a slightly rosier picture, with global occupancy inching up to 50% from 47% in Q4 and gross desk sales rising 19% from quarter to quarter. Unlike with the financial reporting, WeWork's occupancy and sales numbers in the filing included its India and China businesses, neither of which is part of the company aiming to go public.

The selective inclusion of the business lines that won't be part of the merger with BowX reminded some observers of the questionable accounting practices that helped doom its IPO attempt in 2019. But WeWork Executive Chairman and SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure says that demand for WeWork space has now exceeded pre-pandemic levels.