It has, as founder, former CEO and primary beneficiary Adam Neumann might put it, been a long, strange trip to the public markets for WeWork. Two years ago, the consciousness-raising, Kombucha-pouring company that was fundamentally changing how and where Americans (and, eventually, the world) worked was valued at $50 billion and working on an initial public offering. Unfortunately for Neumann, WeWork and, of course, Masa Son, filing to go public brings a somewhat greater level of scrutiny and very un-chill focus on actual numbers, and suddenly the $50 billion unicorn was having to settle for $20 billion or less. Still, the company soldiered on, forcing Son and SoftBank to lead a putsch against Neumann and take the whole thing over themselves, with ultimately disastrous consequences for their bottom lines.
The IPO was off. But WeWork hadn’t given up on going public. All it took was another $5 billion in SoftBank investors’ money, a painful existential reckoning and the rise of a vehicle whose blitheness toward fundamentals matches or exceeds that of SoftBank itself, and also a little help from Shaquille O’Neal, to make WeWork, as of tomorrow, a public company valued less than it was six years ago.
Special purpose acquisition company BowX Acquisition Corp. said Tuesday its shareholders approved the previously announced business combination with shared-workspace company WeWork Inc…. The merger is expected to close on or about Oct. 20, BowX said, adding shares of the combined company, to be named WeWork, are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 21.
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