SoftBank Group Corp. launched a long-awaited $3 billion tender offer for WeWork stock, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The offer expires April 1, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Representatives for SoftBank and WeWork declined to comment.
WeWork parent We Co. agreed to the tender offer from the Japanese conglomerate last month, one element of a $9.5 billion rescue package for the ailing office-sharing company. As part of SoftBank’s proposal to buy existing shares, WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann is entitled to sell as much as $970 million worth of his stock.
The bailout package — which also included millions of dollars in other payouts for Neumann as he exited the company — came as WeWork teetered on the brink of insolvency. The favorable terms for Neumann angered some employees, many of whom are facing job cuts as the company turns its focus to profitability. Last week, WeWork said layoffs would affect 2,400 employees around the world, or almost 20% of its workforce.
Executives at SoftBank had been discussing a way to alter or shrink its offer, though it was unclear how they would renege on the agreement, Bloomberg reported last week. The tender offer launch is about three weeks behind its targeted kick-off, which was five business days after an accelerated $1.5 billion equity injection on Oct. 30.
Besides the new equity injection and the tender offer, SoftBank’s rescue package also includes about $5 billion in new debt financing. If the tender offer is completed to capacity, it will hand SoftBank almost 80% of WeWork, which is now valued at about $8 billion.
Any repriced stock options for current and recently fired employees won’t be eligible for the tender offer, a person with knowledge of the matter said last week.