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WeWork Withdraws IPO Filing Despite Controversial CEO’s Exit

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:41 PM
Joseph Young
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:41 PM

WeWork, which was valued at $47 billion merely several months ago, is withdrawing its IPO filing according to reports.

Fortune reporter Polina Marinova and Bloomberg columnist Brian Chappatta released the statement of WeWork co-CEOs, who emphasized that the company will focus on building its fundamentals and postpone the IPO.

The withdrawal of the IPO comes after The We Company, the parent company of WeWork, considered slashing the valuation of the company from $47 billion to $10 billion and ousted Chief Executive Officer Adam Neumann with plans to pursue the IPO with the backing of Softbank.

WeWork bonds plunge as trouble awaits

As reports about the botched WeWork IPO plans started to get released, WeWork bonds plunged almost immediately out of fears that the company may not be able to secure enough investment to pay off debt holders swiftly in the short term.

“WeWork bonds plunging today as it becomes evident that debt holders aren’t going to get bailed out by equity investors in the near term. Also, the company needs to raise money somehow, so there are questions of how they plan to do it,” said  fixed-income analyst Lisa Abramowicz.

After the resignation of Nuemann, Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson were appointed as the new co-CEOs of The We Company and the two executives went into clean up mode; the company sold its fancy G650ER jet, various high cost businesses, and announced plans to cut thousands of jobs in the coming months.

However, such efforts were not enough to save the IPO of WeWork, which already garnered significant negative press in recent weeks.

“As we look toward a future IPO, we will closely review all aspects of our company with the intention of strengthening our core business and improving our management and operations,” the co-CEOs said, noting that difficult conversations are to follow if the company struggles to raise more cash by early 2020.

WeWork, WeWork IPO
WeWork continues to be a non-profitable enterprise. | Source: YuniqueB via Shutterstock.com

Since its debut, WeWork has been able to secure a loyal consumer base with its unique co-working spaces and private offices at prime spots of major cities internationally.

But, as said by Harvard Business School real estate lecturer Nori Gerardo Lietz, the company has not been able to manage cash flow efficiently, intensifying the market’s fear about the sustainability of the firm’s long term growth and trend.

Leitz said:

“Something is wrong. They’re not managing their growth–they’re spending money like drunken sailors.”

The biggest casualties of the IPO apart from Softbank are likely to be the employees of WeWork, thousands of whom are expected to be laid off sooner than expected to scale the potential losses of the firm.

Expect leases to slow down

Last Friday, before the markets anticipated the IPO of WeWork to be withdrawn, the company noted that it is likely to slow down the pace of signing lease agreements to focus on profitability in the upcoming quarters.

A company statement read:

“WeWork continues to sign new lease agreements with our landlord partners. We expect the pace of entering new lease agreements to slow over the next several quarters as we pursue more strategic growth and focus on accelerating our path to profitability.”

With the firm expecting difficulties in raising a new round of cash to sustain the business throughout the next two to three years, WeWork is likely to engage in damage control, minimizing leases in the short term.