Jin Jiang International and Legend Holdings will get exit routes through the deal, which is set to give SoftBank a stake in the workspace provider sized at about 80%.
Telecommunications and internet conglomerate SoftBank agreed yesterday to provide $9.5bn for a rescue package for US-based workspace provider and portfolio company We Company.
The deal will involve $3bn that will go to a tender offer allowing all the other investors to sell their shares, a $1.5bn funding commitment that will be brought forward from April 2020, and $5bn in debt financing.
WeCo’s main product is WeWork, a network of some 530 shared workspaces across the world. SoftBank said it will come out with a 80% stake sized at approximately 80%, and recent reports had suggested the transaction would revise We Co’s valuation to between $7.5bn and $8bn.
The corporate will buy about $1bn of the shares held by founder and former chief executive Adam Neumann, who is also in line for a $185m consulting fee and an advance of $500m of loans, according to the Financial Times.
Marcelo Claure, SoftBank’s chief operating officer, will replace Neumann as chairman of We Co, with the latter moving to a board observer position. Neumann’s voting rights, which had previously given him full control of the company, will revert to an expanded board of directors.
Claure daid: “WeWork is redefining the nature of work by creating meaningful experiences through integrating design, technology and community. The new capital SoftBank is providing will restore momentum to the company and I am committed to delivering profitability and positive free cash flow.
“As important as the financial implications, this investment demonstrates our confidence in WeWork and its ability to continue to lead in disrupting the commercial real estate market by delivering flexible, collaborative and productive work environments to our customers.”
We Co had secured $10.7bn in financing from SoftBank (including the $1.5bn commitment) out of the $11.5bn it had raised, the most recent of which was a $2bn commitment in January this year that was made at a $47bn valuation.
The last funding not be provided by SoftBank involved a $690m series F round closed in 2016 featuring hospitality chain Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels, conglomerate Legend Holdings and Hony Capital at a $16.9bn valuation.
Earlier investors in We Co include investment and financial services group Fidelity Management and Research, JP Morgan Investment Management, T. Rowe Price, Goldman Sachs, Benchmark and clients of Wellington Management Company.
The company also confirmed yesterday that it will now concentrate on its workspace business, dropping ideas to infiltrate sectors such as education or accommodation, but has not confirmed whether it will revert to its original name. It is set to lay off some 13% of its staff, equating to 2,000 positions, The Guardian reported last week.