Google the expression WeWork goes public and among the questions that appear are: When did WeWork go public?
The answer is, it never really did. But by the end of next month, retail investors will finally have the chance to own a portion of the coworking giant.
WeWork announced Monday that its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, introduced in January and announced in March, would be completed within a month.
The news, like the announcement six months ago of its PSPC merger, comes with much less fanfare and controversy than WeWorks’ initial offer to become a public company. Two years ago, under the leadership of CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann, the company sparked a first-rate business drama by unveiling plans for an IPO, then almost collapsing in the span of a few month.
The companies are reaching a valuation of $ 47 billion (by its private investors, anyway) on Neumann’s charismatic promise to revolutionize office work with shared spaces, followed by an astonishing plunge, in incentive books, in a documentary and thousands of stories that evolved from breathless to smug.
When the smoke cleared, Neumann had been bought out for an ungodly sum by the berated principal investor SoftBank and replaced by Sandeep Mathrani, who set out to stabilize the once high-flying company before it burned down bridges like it did. had burned it. cash. Still, he lost around $ 3 billion last year and would have ceased to exist if SoftBank hadn’t bailed out his finicky son with cash injections.
Given the mess he inherited and the start of the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu a century ago, the turnaround under Mathrani has gone as well as the company might have expected.
To go public, WeWork will merge with BowX Acquisition Corp. The special purpose acquisition company was formed by the management team of the Bow Capitals venture capital fund, comprising Vivek Ranadiv and Murray Rode. BowX shareholders will meet on October 19 to approve the merger.
If they do, the transaction would close on October 21 and the combined entity would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WE.
The deal is valued at $ 9 billion and will provide WeWork with $ 1.3 billion in cash. The company said it would use the money to fund its future growth plans. The planned merger already has the approval of the boards of directors of WeWork and BowXs.
BowX shares were trading at $ 9.74 when its future as WeWork was revealed. It traded at $ 13.93 in early April, but has since slipped, closing at $ 9.99 on Monday. Its market capitalization is approximately $ 603 million.
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