Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

WeWork files for IPO showing $690m loss in first half of year

UPDATE: Office rental company listed an offering size of $1bn in its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which is likely to be revised when terms are set later

WeWork's parent The We Company has filed with US authorities for initial public offering. AFP
WeWork's parent The We Company has filed with US authorities for initial public offering. AFP

WeWork disclosed its plans for an initial public offering, revealing a net loss of $690 million (Dh2.53 billion) in the first six months of this year as it moves toward a listing this autumn.

The office rental company listed an offering size of $1bn in its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. That amount is typically a placeholder that will be revised when terms of the share sale are set later.

The filing revealed that investment banks JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs will be the lead underwriters on the offering. Executives from major banks had been courting the company for years.

Its 2018 revenue more than doubled to $1.8bn in 2018 compared to $886m in the previous year. The company plans to list its shares on the under the symbol “WE”, although the exchange was not listed in the filing.

WeWork had been targeting a share sale of about $3.5bn in September, sources have said. That would make it the second-biggest IPO of the year, topped only by Uber Technologies’ $8.1bn listing in May. In parallel with the stock offering, WeWork has been in talks to raise as much as $6bn in debt.

New York-based WeWork, which leases office space to companies and freelance workers, has raised more than $12bn in funding since its founding. SoftBank Group is the company’s largest backer and has valued the unprofitable business at $47bn. WeWork is by far the most valuable co-working business, but numerous rivals around the world are trying to lure away members.

Adam Neumann, the chief executive, faces persistent questions about WeWork’s propensity to burn cash. The company has described some of its more scrutinised expenses, like a flashy contest series that cost more than $40m, as “critical means through which we express our key values”. WeWork said in April that it had submitted its paperwork confidentially to US regulators. Leading up to its public filing, WeWork discussed its business with analysts on July 31.

WeWork has in recent weeks been looking to raise a significant amount of debt. It was seeking to borrow $2bn through a letter-of-credit facility and $4bn with delayed-draw term loan, Bloomberg previously reported. Banks will have to make good on their commitments only if at least $3bn is raised in the IPO.

Updated: August 15, 2019 12:37 PM

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