SoftBank Group, the multi-billion dollar Japanese technology conglomerate and investment firm, has put together a bid that would save WeWork parent company We Co., just weeks before the co-working real estate company’s imminent collapse, The Wall Street Journal reports.
With the collapse of the company’s planned initial public offering, We Co. is facing a cash crunch. The company was planning to raise billions of dollars in debt on the heels of its public offering to finance its continued operations.
The botched public offering already cost We Co. co-founder Adam Neumann his leadership position at the co-working rental business he co-founded roughly a decade ago. The new financing pitch that SoftBank has put together would further remove Neumann from the company’s operations and business, according to the WSJ’s reporting.
SoftBank’s pitch isn’t the only lifeline for We Co. According to the WSJ’s reporting there’s a plan in the works to raise billions of debt through a process being managed by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“WeWork has retained a major Wall Street financial institution to arrange a financing,” a spokesperson for We Co. wrote in an email. “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 already owns about one-third of the company and their bid for the business would involve billions in equity and debt.
The struggles at We Co. coupled with underperforming investments in publicly traded companies like Uber and Slack have damaged SoftBank just as the company was hoping to move forward with a second version of its ambitious Vision Fund, a $100 billion investment vehicle formed in 2017 to invest in ambitious startup companies.
The results have been lackluster. And it’s not just public companies like Slack and Uber that are dragging down the fund. Investments in direct to consumer companies like Brandless, or the robotic pizza delivery startup Zume have also failed to deliver — despite hundreds of millions in commitments from SoftBank.
SoftBank did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.