Adam Neumann reportedly tried and failed to get Apple to invest in WeWork: ‘This was the Hail Mary’

WeWork CEO Adam Neumann reportedly reached out to Apple last year about a partnership. JB Lacroix/Getty Images

Adam Neumann apparently thought WeWork and Apple would make for a great team.

People at Apple, however, weren’t exactly convinced.

Last fall, Neumann got the idea that Apple would be a good partner for WeWork and could help shore up its cash balance,Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reported Monday. He thought it was such a good idea that he flew to the San Francisco Bay Area to pitch it to Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, at the iPhone maker’s headquarters, Sherman reported. It’s unclear what the deal would have entailed or how it would have worked, but as part of it, Apple would have invested in WeWork, according to the report.

Maestri and Apple turned him down, Sherman reported.

Representatives for WeWork and Apple did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

The meeting happened about the same time when Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – the two biggest backers of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which, in turn, is the biggest bankroller of WeWork – were souring on the real-estate giant, according to the report. At the time, SoftBank was considering an additional $US16 billion investment in the company but ended up putting just $US1 billion directly into the company.

Read more:

WeWork and Uber are giving SoftBank a black eye, but that doesn’t mean Vision Fund II is in trouble, experts say

An unnamed source familiar with the meeting told Sherman that Neumann’s partnership proposal was a kind of last-ditch effort to secure new funding for his company while keeping it private.

“This was the Hail Mary,” the source said. “There was Adam’s idea that there was some way out.”

A source close to Neumann, however, told Sherman the deal would have been small.

Ultimately, Sherman reported that the failure of the Apple meeting and the much-reduced investment from SoftBank spurred Neumann to push for an initial public offering to raise more funds. WeWork postponed its IPO last week amid resistance from prospective investors.

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