- Adam Neumann made motions in October to invest in WeWork, The New York Times reported.
- Former CEO Sandeep Mathrani also considered deals with IWG and JLL.
- Options for the coworking company are few as office leases flood the market.
WeWork, the company that popularized shared office space in 2010, has managed to survive despite mounting pressures over the past year.
Its stock and bond prices have plunged, indicating that investors have all but given up on the company as its raison d’etre of leasing shared office spaces is hitting a proverbial wall. The seasoned executive it brought on in 2020 to streamline the cash-burning company abruptly resigned last month. Options for the company have been whittled down, and now include bankruptcy, The New York Times reported on Monday.
Despite the turmoil, the company was attractive enough to see a few possible lifelines before the exit of Sandeep Mathrani, the former CEO, according to the Times report.
One opportunity batted away by Mathrani came from Adam Neumann, who was pushed out as WeWork’s CEO in 2019, the Times reported. Neumann approached Mathrani in October to “discuss a large investment and other strategic initiatives” to stabilize the company, according to the report that cites four anonymous sources familiar with the proposal.
The meeting, which was potentially to discuss an investment with other investors of as much as $1 billion and a debt buyback, didn’t happen, the Times reported. Instead, Mathrani began the debt restructuring that closed in March.
More recently, IWG, a company that also offers work spaces for remote and hybrid workers, made an offer to operate WeWork’s spaces, according to the Times. Separately, real-estate broker JLL was interested in an operating agreement with WeWork, it reported.
It was SoftBank, WeWork’s largest shareholder, that closed the door on IWG and JLL, said the report. Mathrani didn’t follow up with Neumann, who has since lost interest, it said.
Anyone with a rescue plan for WeWork has no doubt seen that the outlook for offices and office buildings has only darkened further with more companies giving up space. According to Trepp, delinquencies for office debt spiked higher and hit a tipping point in May, and there are signs that even the best properties in storied US downtowns are suffering.
And though there’s a rising tide in equity markets, stock investors are avoiding WeWork. Its shares on Monday bumped along at 18 cents, just above the all-time low of 16 cents.