WeWork, the co-working spaces company valued at $47 billion, has quickly matured and plans to go public with its initial public offering as early as next week, according to Business Insider, making this the first time the company has revealed its full financial landscape.
The office-sharing startup plans to raise more than $3.5 billion, Bloomberg reported, making it the second-largest IPO of the year, after Uber. The company filed documentation for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in April. Initially, the New York-based company planned to go public last December, but after an unexpected round of funding, it expedited reports for listing on the exchange in September. Sources close to the company say they are ready to go public even sooner, according to the Bloomberg report.
In the months after, co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann was criticized when it was reported he sold shares he owned in the company and took loans worth $700 million to invest in additional real estate and other startups. His liquidation of assets sent potentially mixed signals to investors seeking the highly-anticipated IPO. However, an anonymous source told the Wall Street Journal that Neumann's borrowing against his stake proves he is confident in the co-working giant's long-term success.
Since its founding in 2011, the workshare company has raised $10 billion in venture and debt funding. Its chief financial officer, Ariel Tiger, projects it will spend $2 billion in profit on the "space-as-a-service" model they offer businesses.
WeWork has disclosed very little financial information since it started selling bonds in 2018. However, the company lost $1.9 billion in 2018, up from $933 million the prior year. Meanwhile, it totaled $1.8 billion in revenue last year, up from $886 million in 2017. Still, the company has been growing exponentially both in the U.S. and overseas, with Mexican real estate company Fibra Uno being its biggest landlord. WeWork had previously received funding through Japanese conglomerate SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which is fueled by the Saudi government. In the future, Neumann said he would consider declining investment from the controversial backers on ethical grounds.
As real estate becomes unaffordable for many businesses, WeWork provides a real-life solution with temporary workspaces and no massive overhead costs. While smaller companies are a major part of the WeWork business model, larger corporations including Salesforce.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Rent the Runway, have partnered with this venerable startup. The company has also used its spaces to open a grade school and a gym.
WeWork has declined to comment about the date of their IPO listing at this time.