WeWork NYC HQ
WeWork's New York city HQ

WeWork files confidentially for IPO

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Nicholas Fearn

Serviced office and coworking upstart WeWork has confirmed it’s currently going through the process of listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

On Monday, the loss-making trend-setter for office space released a statement saying it had submitted papers to the US Securities + Exchange Commission to begin an initial public offering of its common stock in December.

Founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, WeWork offers shared workspaces and community services for technology startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, small businesses and more established corporates. The brand has spawned a thousand imitators from rival startups to old established property companies trying to do their own version of the service-led experiential offer that has battered rivals such as Regus.

The company said in a statement: “This process will enable WeWork to make the decision to become publicly traded, subject to market and other conditions.”

Earlier this year, the firm was valued at $47bn. In January, WeWork received a $6bn investment package from Japanese tech giant Softbank, of which $5bn was primary growth capital and the remaining $1bn was secondary capital to “fund share purchases from investors and employees.”

At the time, WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann said: “Through the extended WeWork network and the Meetup community, The We Company now touches approximately 5 million people around the world, with the funding to reach millions more.

“We’re driven by the impact we know we can have when we all work together with a shared intention. I am grateful to our employees, members, and our incredible partner in SoftBank for their commitment to our mission.”

Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank, commended the company by saying it is “disrupting a multi-trillion-dollar industry with a technology platform that provides a complete solution for space needs”.

However, financials have been a mixed picture for the firm. Despite the fact that revenues at the firm doubled from $886m in 2017 to $1.8bn in 2018, it posted a net loss of $1.9bn last year.

But its co-working spaces have seen increasing uptake globally. WeWork kicked off 2019 with over 400,000 members at 425 locations in 100 global cities.

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