According to a new report in the WSJ, WeWork, the co-working juggernaut that saw its attempt at a public offering blow up in spectacular fashion in the fall of 2019, might become a publicly traded company by merging with a blank-check company.
Specifically, says the WSJ, the New York-based outfit has been “weighing offers from a SPAC affiliated with Bow Capital Management LLC and at least one other unidentified acquisition vehicle for several weeks” in a deal that could value WeWork at around $10 billion.
Asked for more information, a spokesperson for the company sent us the same statement that was sent to the Journal: “Over the past year, WeWork has remained focused on executing our plans for achieving profitability. Our significant progress combined with the increased market demand for flexible space, shows positive signs for our business. We will continue to explore opportunities that help us move closer toward our goals.”
The company is also contemplating inbound interest for more private funding, according to a person close to the company.
According to the WeWork spokesperson, WeWork has more than $3.6 billion of cash and unfunded cash commitments, including more than $875 million in available cash and it believes this is “more than sufficient liquidity to weather a prolonged COVID environment.”
WeWork’s CEO Sandeep Mathrani said last fall that WeWork was on track to turn profitable some time this year and that after it hit “profitable growth first,” it would “revisit the IPO plan.” Speaking to reporters in India over a Zoom call from New York, he added, as reported by Bloomberg, that as of October, WeWork was “100% done with rightsizing” after parting ways with 8,000 employees, or roughly one-third of its headcount.
Mathrani stepped into the role of CEO in February of last year, following the ouster of WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann from the company months earlier on the heels of the company’s pulled IPO.
Mathrani previously spent 1.5 years as the CEO of Brookfield Properties’ retail group and as a vice chairman of Brookfield Properties. Before joining the Chicago-based company, he spent eight years as the CEO of General Growth Properties. It was one of the largest mall operators in the U.S. until Brookfield acquired it for $9.25 billion in cash in 2018.
Mathrani also spent eight years as an executive vice president with the publicly traded real estate company Vornado Realty Trust.
Bow Capital Management is run by Vivek Ranadive, the founder of Tibco Software; in July, it registered plans for a $350 million blank-check company that would focus on acquiring a business in the technology, media and telecommunications industries.
Though there’s been much discussion over the years over whether WeWork is a tech company or much more of a pure real estate play, the company has long insisted it is the former.
This story is developing …