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WeWork Is Said to Rethink Sale of Startup Back to Its Co-Founder

Ellen Huet

(Bloomberg) -- WeWork bought the startup Managed by Q last April, just months before its initial public offering dramatically imploded. Not long after, a Managed by Q co-founder was in talks to buy his company back. Now, those talks have fallen through, according to people familiar with the matter, and the startup is likely to be sold to a rival instead.  

The people familiar with the talks asked not to be identified discussing private information, and because a deal has not yet been finalized. 

The co-founder of Managed by Q, Dan Teran, had been attempting to buy the startup back from WeWork parent We Co., Bloomberg reported in December. Teran and a group of investors were in talks to buy the company, which offers technology to help businesses manage workplace tasks and services, for less than $55 million, compared to the $220 million WeWork reportedly paid for it last year.

But WeWork will instead likely sell Managed by Q to Eden Technologies Inc., a company that has competed with Managed by Q in the past, two people familiar with the matter said. The final purchase price was more than Teran and his investors were willing to pay, one of the people said. 

WeWork has been selling off several acquisitions and investments in the past few months, sometimes at steep discounts to the price it paid. After WeWork’s attempt to go public in September flopped, the cash-burning company was just a few months from running out of money and had to be bailed out by SoftBank Group Corp., its biggest investor. Chief Executive Officer Adam Neumann stepped down. WeWork’s new leadership planned to slash expenses and aim for profitability, which included trying to recoup some money through selling some of its acquisitions and a renewed focus on its core business of office rentals. WeWork also said it would cut about 2,400 jobs late last year.

Since November, WeWork has sold off its investment in women-focused co-working space The Wing and sold Teem, which makes technology for office spaces. The company also sold Conductor, a marketing software startup acquired in 2018, to a group of investors including Conductor’s founder in December.

Neumann is also selling off some of his own assets. This month, he unloaded his stake in a San Jose, California, real estate development.

--With assistance from Alistair Barr.

To contact the author of this story: Ellen Huet in San Francisco at ehuet4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at avandermey@bloomberg.net, Jillian Ward

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