The WeWork IPO, Revised

It's been a long road to the WeWork IPO, and it's not getting any easier for the company. After initial rumblings that the company‚ÄĒalso known as the 'We' company‚ÄĒwould need to lower its valuation, it's now worse than initially thought, according to CNBC:

The valuation targets for WeWork continue to drop and the company’s IPO valuation could fall below $15 billion, perhaps around $10 billion to $12 billion, sources told CNBC’s David Faber. Its private valuation was as high as $47 billion.

That's a huge drop in valuation, and its becoming clear that there's a desperate scramble beginning to get this thing out the door, given some had started to speculate that the company might have to pull the IPO. But, it looks like that's not happening.

To try and re-assure skittish investors, who have balked at a variety of information revealed by the S-1, the company is changing an array of provisions...which were rather outrageous at the outset:

  • The voting structure will change to remove power from the company's CEO, Adam Neumann. He controlled a serious majority of voting shares in the initial S-1, but a new provision curtails that power, allowing investors to have a chance of winning a motion.
  • A¬†provision that allowed Neumann's wife to lead the search for his replacement if he would be incapacitated has been removed. The board, instead, will choose.
  • Neumann must return profits on real estate he rented to WeWork(!) back to the company. He had leased several properties to the company, which he owned personally.¬†
  • Neumann will return the ridiculous $5.9 million trademark payment for the company's name.¬†

This isn't even the laundry list of stupid stuff that was buried in the S-1 filing, but it's the most egregious ones. Investors called the company's bluff, and it's scrambling to save this thing... but whats not clear is if they'll be able to get it out the door even at the slashed $15B valuation.

Why does this matter, anyway? The We Company burns too much money to not get this public listing's cash, which will also come with a $6B loan from a bunch of shady bankers. It won't get that money, which it will burn in two short years, so the IPO needs to happen.

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