SoftBank reportedly plans to boost its stake in WeWork by $750 million in the coworking giant's IPO

Kim Kyung-Hoon/ReutersSoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son
  • SoftBank plans to buy $US750 million in WeWork shares in the real-estate company’s planned public offering, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The purchase would represent about 25% of the shares WeWork is planning on selling.
  • The move would up SoftBank’s investment in the company to more than $US11 billion, assuming it doesn’t sell any shares in the offering.
  • The news comes as WeWork is considering going public with a valuation of as little as $US10 billion.
  • Read all of Business Insider’s WeWork coverage here.

SoftBank plans to up its stake in WeWork in the latter’s planned initial public offering, even as the money-losing commercial real-estate giant is struggling to attract other investors,The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The Japanese conglomerate, which oversees the $US100 billion Vision Fund, plans to buy at least $US750 million worth of WeWork shares in its IPO, The Journal reported. That would represent around a quarter of all the shares the coworking company plans to sell in the offering, in which it is expected to raise at least $US3 billion.

With the move, SoftBank would increase its total investment in WeWork by about 7%, assuming it doesn’t sell any shares in the offering, pushing it to beyond $US11 billion. To date, the conglomerate has invested $US10.65 billion in WeWork and its subsidiaries, according to WeWork’s public offering document.

SoftBank representatives did not return a call seeking comment. WeWork representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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

Earlier Friday, WeWork announced in updated offering filings that it is revamping its corporate governance, cutting in half the number of votes CEO Adam Neumann will get for his shares from 20 each to 10 each, and committing to having a board in which the majority of directors are independent.

Also, the company is now considering going public with a market capitalisation of as little as $US10 billion. In January, SoftBank privately valued WeWork at $US47 billion, when it made a follow-on investment in the company. Earlier this week, the company was talking about a potential market capitalisation at IPO of $US15 billion to $US20 billion.

The company has reportedly faced pushback from the public investors it is trying to woo, thanks to concerns about its governance, valuation, business model, and potential vulnerability in a recession.

Softbank has reportedly encouraged WeWork to not go forward with its IPO.

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