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Adam Neumann is trying to buy back WeWork

Date 07 Feb, 2024

Position Columnist

Adam Neumann, who co-founded flexible workspace provider WeWork in 2010 and notoriously stepped down nine years later, is attempting to buy the company out of bankruptcy, according to multiple reports.

In a letter published by The New York Times today, lawyers for Neumann, his latest startup Flow Global Holdings LLC, and “their affiliates” wrote that they were dismayed with “WeWork’s lack of engagement even to provide information” in response to efforts to be able to make an offer to buy the company. The letter disclosed that Neumann, Flow and affiliates were partnering with investors such as Dan Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point and “others.”

Neumann’s attorneys further claimed that he had “previously worked to arrange up to $1 billion of financing to stabilize WeWork in October 2022, when just before the meeting (while participants were literally in the air traveling), the former CEO shut down that process without explanation.”

WeWork, which was once valued at an eye-watering $47 billion, filed for bankruptcy last November. The company at the time listed over $18.6 billion of debt in what marked a stunning collapse for the once high-flying startup that had raised over $22 billion from investors such as SoftBank, BlackRock and Goldman Sachs. It had faced years of grappling with the fallout from a period of aggressive growth and global expansion that resulted in a portfolio of many underperforming properties.

When asked about Neumann’s buyback attempt, WeWork told TechCrunch today: “WeWork is an extraordinary company. As such, we receive expressions of interest from external parties on a regular basis. We and our advisors always review those approaches with a view to acting in the best interests of the company. We continue to believe that the work we are currently doing — addressing our unsustainable rent expenses and restructuring our business — will ensure WeWork is best positioned as an independent, valuable, financially strong and sustainable company long into the future.” 

Meanwhile, Third Point told the Financial Times that it had held “only preliminary conversations with Flow [Neumann’s property company] and Adam Neumann about their ideas for WeWork, and has not made a commitment to participate in any transaction.”

Notably, Neumann’s new venture Flow,  a residential real estate outfit focused on rentals, is backed by the likes of venture firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). In August 2022, the investment firm wrote its largest individual check ever, at $350 million, to Flow, so if Flow succeeds in its attempt to buy WeWork, a16z would presumably become a shareholder in the company.

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