- SoftBank is reportedly close to securing the keys to a private members’ club in London that WeWork also wanted to rent.
- That suggests the pair’s recent troubles haven’t tempered their desire for prime real estate.
- The Japanese conglomerate is in advanced talks with KPMG for its Number Twenty club in Mayfair, according to the Financial Times.
- WeWork showed “strong interest” in the property, which KPMG rents for £4.1 million ($US5.3 million) a year, the newspaper reported.
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SoftBank is reportedly close to securing the keys to a private members’ club in London that WeWork also wanted to rent, suggesting the two companies’ recent troubles haven’t tempered their desire for prime real estate.
The Japanese conglomerate – which struck a $US9.5 billion rescue deal to take over WeWork last month after the coworking startup’s IPO fell through – is in advanced talks with KPMG for its Number Twenty club in Mayfair, according to the Financial Times. SoftBank’s Vision Fund has been hunting for space in London as part of its plan to double its global headcount to 800 in the next two years, the newspaper reported.
WeWork showed “strong interest” in the property – which KPMG rents for £4.1 million ($US5.3 million) a year – the Financial Times reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. One of WeWork’s rivals, Regus, also viewed the property in recent weeks, the newspaper said.
SoftBank and WeWork’s efforts to expand are somewhat surprising given their recent challenges. SoftBank stomached a $US6.5 billion operating loss last quarter, its first quarterly decline in 14 years, driven by its Vision Fund slashing the value of its WeWork investment. Similarly, WeWork’s net loss more than doubled to $US1.25 billion last quarter, and the company began laying off workers this week.
KPMG is one of Britain’s “Big Four” accounting firms. It put the five-story, 43,000-square-foot converted townhouse up for sale in September in a bid to cut costs and appease regulators, the Financial Times reported. The firm’s granting of memberships and other hospitality as perks to clients risked throwing its independence as an auditor into question.
The accounting giant has agreed to ban all members who are audit clients or regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission from Number Twenty, and plans to scrap memberships entirely next year, the Financial Times reported, citing a person briefed on the plans. SoftBank is likely to take over the club’s lease before KPMG gets rid of the memberships, the newspaper reported.
WeWork and SoftBank didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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