A year ago, we noted an unusual discrepancy in WeWork’s apparent worth. Based on SoftBank’s earlier, large investments, the office co-working company carried a $47 billion valuation. Yet investors including mutual funds, secondary market buyers and even SoftBank in a smaller deal judged WeWork to be worth just $23 billion.
Fast forward to the coronavirus pandemic. SoftBank now thinks WeWork is worth just $2.9 billion—a 94% markdown from that questionable $47 billion valuation, and 63% less than what SoftBank estimated in the prior quarter, after WeWork’s IPO plans unravelled. The new price also represents just a third of the $10 billion of cash that SoftBank invested in the company. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who once told WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann he wasn’t “crazy enough,” now says investing in WeWork was “foolish.”