WeWork owner The We Company could see the valuation for its initial public offering (IPO) even fall below $20 billion, the Wall Street Journal has reported, while some existing investors are also pushing the company to shelve the planned offering.
The newspaper’s website said that, despite plans to begin a roadshow to market the shares to new investors as early as Monday, We Company and its underwriters are planning to hold meetings this week among themselves and with investors to figure out what changes may be needed to help garner enough demand for an IPO, according to people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the WSJ had reported that We Company was considering an IPO valuation of around $20 billion, which it said would be less than half the $47 billion valuation it achieved in a private fundraising round in January.
READ: WeWork owner could float at less than half the valuation it secured from a big backer just a few months ago: Media reports
The newspaper’s latest report said potential investors have been unnerved by We’s co-founder and chief executive Adam Neumann’s sales of hundreds of millions of dollars of his stock and loans of more than $740 million tied to his shares in the company.
However, it pointed out that some investors have still indicated interest in the IPO and the newspaper said it is possible the company will pull it off at an offering at a valuation of $20 billion or higher.
The WSJ noted that the We company was planning to raise $3 billion to $4 billion in the IPO and up to $6 billion in debt that is contingent on the IPO raising at least $3 billion.
If the IPO doesn’t happen, the newspaper added, the company will either need to find more cash or scale back its plans for further growth, again quoting people familiar with the firm.
The company is continuing to talk to its biggest investor, SoftBank Group Corp., about whether the Japanese technology giant would put in additional capital through the IPO by buying a significant portion of the shares on offer or invest a chunk of money that would allow We to delay its IPO until 2020.
SoftBank which has invested or committed to invest $10.65 billion in WeWork – which was rebranded We Company earlier this year – since 2017.
The New York-based company, which rents out workspace to clients under short-term contracts, reported a loss of more than $900 million in the first half of 2019, up 25% from a year earlier, even as its revenue doubled to $1.54 billion.
Worries about its IPO valuation have reflected the mounting losses and concerns about how its business model would survive an economic downturn.
The company is also looking to go public against a choppy market backdrop amid the US trade war with China and fears of a global recession.
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