SoftBank Seeking to Take Control of WeWork Through Financing Package

Date : 10/13/2019 @ 10:04PM
Source : Dow Jones News

SoftBank Seeking to Take Control of WeWork Through Financing Package

By Maureen Farrell, Liz Hoffman and Eliot Brown 

SoftBank Group Corp. has prepared a financing package that would give it control of WeWork and further sideline its founder Adam Neumann in exchange for relieving the shared-office startup's looming cash crunch, according to people familiar with the matter.

WeWork is racing to find a way to shore up its financing after its New York parent company We Co. pulled its plans for an initial public offering and Mr. Neumann resigned under pressure.

One potential solution is the SoftBank package. Another possibility: The board has tapped JPMorgan Chase & Co. to look at ways for the company to raise billions in debt, and the bank is in the middle of meetings with investors about participating in a multibillion-dollar debt deal, people familiar with the company's plans said.

"WeWork has retained a major Wall Street financial institution to arrange a financing," a company spokesman said. "Approximately 60 financing sources have signed confidentiality agreements and are meeting with the company's management and its bankers over the course of this past week and this coming week."

SoftBank, which already owns one-third of WeWork, is aiming to invest several billion dollars in new equity and debt, some of the people familiar with the matter said.

Should there be a deal with SoftBank, much of Mr. Neumann's voting power -- already diminished from its peak but still substantial -- would shift to the Japanese conglomerate, which would take a bigger role in turning around We's operations, people familiar with the matter said.

The situation remains fluid and there's no guarantee a deal with SoftBank, a bank-debt agreement -- or some combination of the two -- will be reached.

--David Benoit contributed to this article.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 13, 2019 17:49 ET (21:49 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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