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The We Company Launches $2.9B Investment Platform Backed By Giant Canadian Fund

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Adam Neumann, WeWork
WeWork CEO Adam Neumann

WeWork's parent company is expanding its real estate acquisition and development efforts with a new multibillion-dollar platform backed by Canadian capital.

The We Company is launching ARK, a platform for acquiring, developing and managing real estate assets that plans to initially deploy about $2.9B in equity capital, it announced Wednesday.

The platform is part of a partnership with Ivanhoé Cambridge, a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada's second-largest pension fund manager. ARK will provide capital and real estate expertise. WeWork plans to occupy some or all of the real estate ARK acquires with its enterprise business, which the company says comprises over 40% of its members. 

The move comes as The We Company is preparing for its initial public offering. Most of WeWork's deals are long-term leases with landlords, with spaces the company carves up and subleases at a premium, but it has expanded into the real estate acquisition world with WeWork Property Advisors, a joint venture with Rhône Group. WeWork Property Advisors is now combining with ARK along with the launch. 

Rhône Group Managing Director Steven Langman, a member of The We Company's board of directors, will serve as the chairman of ARK's management committee. ARK's managing partner will be Rich Gomel, who previously served as president of WeWork. Wendy Silverstein, previously CEO of New York REIT, will serve as ARK's chief investment officer. 

"We have seen first hand the value that the WeWork ecosystem can create for landlords and real estate partners," Gomel said in a release. "The launch of ARK will help drive growth by leveraging The We Company's extensive real estate experience and network."

The We Company co-founder Adam Neumann told the Financial Times that ARK will buy out the stakes he owns in buildings where WeWork is a tenant, an effort to address potential conflicts of interest. He has made millions in rent from the company he founded as its landlord in several buildings, primarily in New York.

"The company will get a really good deal," Neumann told FT. "My family office will get a bad deal."