WeWork is back on Wall Street, two years after its stampede

(Paris) WeWork’s financial troubles and failed initial public offering made headlines in 2019. Two years later, the US co-working giant, which had sought to renew itself in the wake of the pandemic, returned to Wall Street.


Daniel Hoffman
France media agency

WeWork’s merger with BowX, a vehicle (or SPAC) already listed in New York, took effect on Tuesday, and the new entity, valued at about $9 billion, will be listed Thursday under the symbol “WE.”

By taking this step, WeWork wants to turn the page on the era of Adam Newman, its former president and co-founder, whose adventures and stormy personality drove the company to the brink of bankruptcy.

WeWork was valued at $47 billion in early 2019 by Japan’s SoftBank Group, one of its largest investors, and WeWork felt the ground slipping under its feet when the company’s financial abyss unfolded.

austerity treatment

To raise the bar and clean up finances, WeWork appointed its president in February 2020, Sandeep Matherani, a real estate veteran with a more consensual profile than Mr. Neumann, has been pushed out with a big severance package.

Matherani and the new management team embarked on a cure for austerity, cutting several thousand jobs in the world and reducing the number of leases.

« WeWork s’est transformé grâce à la restructuration de ses activités et de sa structure financière, au réajustement de son portefeuille immobilier et, surtout, au recadrage de son produit de référence», an indiqué à l’Deszbecké Anthony directive, Yar. Collection.

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Known initially for targeting a young audience, made up largely of the self-employed, the startup has shifted further to companies with more than 500 employees looking for workspaces in the heart of major cities, where WeWork offices are usually located.

They now account for just over half of WeWork’s customers, up from 42% at the end of 2019.

Such is the case in Paris for the communications agency Dentsu that left its headquarters in Courbevoie at the beginning of September to settle in a building on Rue de Wagram, on the 17NS Circle.

“We wanted better offices with more collaborative space than before,” explains Pierre Calmard, CEO of Dentsu France. “The idea is to go to work to find real fun and meet colleagues there instead of being a necessary or ritual pass from Monday morning 9am to Friday 7pm.”

Flexibility

The pandemic and greater flexibility in the workplace have accelerated this movement.

Dentsu, for example, allows its employees to come into the office as many days as they like per week, alternating with telecommuting.

“To my surprise, employees are coming back overwhelmingly, if not more than they can with the new system. Mr. Calmard emphasizes that it is not uncommon for us to be on top of it.

WeWork has also launched a monthly subscription during the pandemic, giving access to shared spaces in any of the group’s buildings around the world, as well as a pay-on-demand service in many countries (including the US, UK and Australia), allowing rooms to be rented by the hour or day .

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However, some customers have complained about the contractual terms imposed by WeWork at the height of the shutdowns.

In May 2020, New York members, represented by attorney Jim Walden, demanded that the company stop charging them their membership fees until health restrictions are lifted and threaten legal action.

In contact with AFP, Mr Walden’s cabinet declined to comment on the measure.

specialty

WeWork made $658 million in profits between July and September, but is still losing money.

The group, which has 762 workplaces in 38 countries and 150 cities, hopes to turn a profit in the first quarter of next year.

Focuses on the sustainability of new ways of organizing work in a post-pandemic world.

This insight convinces Evgeniy Antoshkin, a New York City-based Russian businessman who has rented WeWork spaces in the US, Brazil and Colombia.

“I am ready to buy their shares on the stock exchange,” the young man asserts. “They have discovered a special niche for bringing people together around what they do for a living. I don’t think this need will go away.”

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