Adam Neumann Explores Buying WeWork Out of Bankruptcy

Adam Neumann Explores Buying WeWork Out of Bankruptcy
Adam Neumann at an event on the sidelines of WeWork’s trading debut in October 2021.

Adam Neumann and other investors including Dan Loeb’s Third Point are exploring an offer to buy WeWork Inc. out of bankruptcy.

Neumann and his real estate startup, Flow, have been trying to get information from WeWork necessary to formulate a bid since December, according to a letter sent to WeWork’s lawyers seen by Bloomberg News. More recently they’ve worked to put together a bankruptcy financing package for the co-working firm.

The bid would be for the entire company or its assets, according to the letter. It did not include details of how much Neumann, who co-founded WeWork, stood ready to offer for the firm. He stepped down as chief executive officer in 2019 after the company’s initial botched attempt at going public.

In the letter, a lawyer for Neumann said efforts to compose a bid have so far been stymied by a dearth of information from WeWork.

“We write to express our dismay with WeWork’s lack of engagement even to provide information to my clients in what is intended to be a value-maximizing transaction for all stakeholders,” Alex Spiro, an attorney with Quinn Emanuel representing Neumann, wrote.

Third Point has had only preliminary talks with Neumann and his startup about their ideas for WeWork and hasn’t committed to back any deal, the hedge fund said in a statement.

In an emailed statement, WeWork said it receives expressions of interest from outside parties on a regular basis, which its advisers review “with a view to acting in the best interests of the company.” It added that its current focus on addressing unsustainable rent expenses and restructuring the business “will ensure WeWork is best positioned as an independent, valuable, financially strong and sustainable company long into the future.”

The New York Times earlier reported on the potential bid.

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The letter outlines other ill-fated attempts from Neumann to finance WeWork, including a proposed $1 billion capital raise in late 2022 designed to stabilize the company. Most recently, Neumann provided a formal proposal to give WeWork $200 million in bankruptcy financing, but was still unable to access information needed to put together a bid for the company, according to the letter.

It mirrors the frustration of creditors and landlords, who complained on Monday to the judge overseeing the company’s bankruptcy case about a lack of progress in reviving WeWork since it filed for Chapter 11 in early November. WeWork’s official committee of unsecured creditors said the company hasn’t yet updated its business plan or put forward key details about how the firm will end its time under court supervision.

Currently, WeWork’s bankruptcy plan proposes handing ownership to the company’s most senior debt holders, including those holding its credit line, first-lien notes and second-lien notes, according to court papers. Third-lien noteholders and unsecured creditors are likely to be wiped out.

Before it fell into bankruptcy, WeWork had been trying for years to deliver a turnaround story — one in which the rowdy co-working startup transforms into a stable, profitable public company. After the pandemic, the New York-based firm was bleeding cash with onerous leases. The company listed $19 billion of liabilities and $15 billion of assets in its Chapter 11 filing last year.

The speed of WeWork’s decline was stunning. In 2019, the co-working giant was the biggest private occupier of office space in Manhattan and operated millions of square feet in dozens of countries. A peak valuation of $47 billion made it one of the most prized startups in the US.

Its valuation cratered after the failed attempt to go public in 2019, then the Covid-19 pandemic dealt another blow. Although WeWork’s office locations initially emptied out, demand for flexible work proved somewhat resilient. The company eventually went public in 2021 through a combination with a special purpose acquisition company.

Neumann is still worth an estimated $1.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.


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