SoftBank said to launch $3b tender offer for WeWork shares

A pedestrian passes outside a shared office space, operated by WeWork Cos Inc., in London, U.K., on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

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.

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.