Briefing

WeWork left with US$4.4 billion as showdown with SoftBank looms

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The co-working-space firm spent US$1.4 billion in the last three months of 2019, nearly all the money SoftBank injected into WeWork in October 2019 as part of an emergency bailout. (Financial Times)

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Talking point: These numbers show WeWork was burning through cash even before it had to close locations due to COVID-19, and prior to last week’s warning from SoftBank that it might not buy US$3 billion of its shares. There is some good news in the year-end numbers. WeWork generated US$3.5 billion in revenue for the year, a 90 per cent year-over-year increase. SoftBank is trying to get its own house in order at the moment. Last weekend, the firm held talks about going private, before pivoting to an up to US$41-billion asset sale. That new money is earmarked for paying off SoftBank’s significant debts, but could in theory also be used to bolster WeWork. Despite that, WeWork is facing a number of other challenges. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department and New York state officials are all looking into its activities.