SoftBank invests $300m in US-based WeWork, values it at $17b

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Photo: Reuters

SoftBank Group Corp. invested $300 million in WeWork Cos., a person familiar with the matter said, an influx of cash that values the New York-based coworking giant at more than $17 billion.

The investment from SoftBank is the first in what will probably be a much larger stake, said the person, who asked not to be identified . The additional cash is expected to come from the $100 billion Vision Fund. With the new money, WeWork’s valuation increases to about $18 billion, according to an estimate by private stock market provider Equidate.

WeWork, which rents out desks and offices to small businesses, freelancers and other people seeking temporary working space, sold the shares at a higher price than in its previous round, which valued it at about $16 billion a year ago. The new investment was disclosed in a securities filing. WeWork and SoftBank declined to comment. SoftBank’s investment was reported earlier Monday by the Wall Street Journal. The Japanese firm plans to invest $3 billion or more in total, CNBC said last month.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son is in the process creating the $100 billion fund, a bet on the Japanese billionaire’s vision for a future centered on artificial intelligence and connected devices. One of its first investments will be an acquisition of a 25 percent stake in ARM Holdings Plc, a wholly-owned unit of SoftBank, people familiar with the matter have said. Son has also said the SoftBank-led $1.2 billion investment in satellite startup OneWeb Ltd. will be included in the Vision Fund when it closes.

The shares of SoftBank traded 2.1 percent lower as of 10:23 a.m. in Tokyo on Tuesday. The stock, which is up about 6 percent this year, has been buoyed by the prospects of the Vision Fund easing the strain on the Japanese conglomerate’s balance sheet. Son’s appetite for deals has left SoftBank with a record $130 billion debt load, one of the heaviest in Japan.

SoftBank said it will contribute $25 billion to the fund, while Saudi Arabia is putting in $45 billion. Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. will invest as much as $15 billion and should reach a formal agreement by the end of this month, people familiar with the matter have said. Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc. and Oracle Corp. Chairman Larry Ellison may invest $1 billion each, people familiar with the matter have said.

Also Read: Japan’s SoftBank to put $8b ARM stake into its Vision Fund

SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son lays out vision with Jobsian style

Bloomberg