SoftBank is in talks to take a majority stake in shared-office provider WeWork, the Wall Street Journal reported. The possible new investment by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which already owns 20% of WeWork, could total $15 billion to $20 billion, the Journal said.
Such a deal—massive even by SoftBank’s standards—would tie the $92 billion Vision Fund’s fortunes closely to WeWork’s success while likely delaying any IPO plans for the startup. It also would raise more questions about whether the loss-making New York startup’s soaring valuation can be justified. Yet another question is how a deal could affect CEO Adam Neumann’s control over WeWork. The Japanese company’s Tokyo-listed shares fell 5.4% Wednesday after the Journal report.
WeWork, which rents office spaces and sublets them to short term tenants, was valued at $20 billion when the Vision Fund invested $4.4 billion last year. In its first public financial disclosure, WeWork in August said its revenue doubled in the first half of the year as its net loss widened.