SoftBank urges WeWork to shelve IPO over valuation concerns: FT

11 Septembre, 2019, 01:43 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • WeWork plans to go public

Last Wednesday, Rennaisance Capital co-founder and chairwoman Kathleen Smith told CNBC that the poor IPO performances of Uber and Lyft-especially given the similar unprofitable natures of their business models-could reflect directly on the We Company's public debut.

A lower valuation would be a blow to SoftBank, forcing it to write-down its investment.

Such a low valuation could be a boon to investors.

Some investors are also anxious about skepticism surrounding the company's business model and want its planned initial public offering (IPO) to be pushed to next year, sources said on condition of anonymity. SoftBank declined to comment.

In accordance with the report, SoftBank is anxious that if WeWork goes public at a valuation a lot decrease than its private-market valuation, it'd harm the agency's potential to boost its second Vision Fund, therefore its option to strain the corporate into dropping its IPO plans.

Returns for SoftBank first Vision Fund have already been hit by lackluster listings of Uber and Slack.

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The company is continuing to talk to its biggest investor, SoftBank Group Corp., about whether the Japanese technology giant would put in additional capital through the IPO by buying a significant portion of the shares on offer or invest a chunk of money that would allow We to delay its IPO until 2020. Goldman Sachs investment bank valued the landlord of office spaces at $ 65 billion earlier this year.

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Chris Lane said that if WeWork halted its IPO, SoftBank could come up with an alternative funding plan for the startup, which he estimates needs $9 billion in funding to become cash-flow positive.

The pressure follows signs that outside investors do not value the much-hyped firm as highly as SoftBank did when it invested a year ago. "(The We Company) will have to listen to them", said Lane, who values the office space-sharing firm at $23 billion.

Tech conglomerate SoftBank has burned through much of the $100 billion raised by its first Vision Fund in just two years, recording big paper gains on internal revaluations of its tech investments.

SoftBank defends its valuation techniques, which include cash-flow analysis, recent transactions and comparison with peers to underpin its numbers.

At the end of June the fund recorded the value of $71 billion in investments in 83 startups as having grown by $20 billion. It was reported that the company was serious about decreasing the amount it could seek in a public offering under the $20 billion figure that had been previously reported.

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