Next SPAC Merger: WeWork?
WeWork is the famous et infamous office leasing company that was once seemingly high-flying but saw its wings got clipped once it attempted to hold a public listing. Having faced funding and operational issues, WeWork got bailed out by its biggest investor, SoftBank, which took control of the company and installed a new leadership team with hopes of turning things around.
Now under a new CEO, Sandeep Mathrani, it seems that WeWork may be looking to test the public markets once again, this time through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
WeWork has fielded merger talks from a few SPACs including BowX Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ:BOWX) and another unnamed suitor, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. BowX Acquisition is a SPAC affiliated with the investment firm Bow Capital Management and has the basketball star Shaquille O’Neal as an adviser.
According to the Journal, deals being fielded by WeWork could value the company at $10 billion. Although that figure seems big at face value, it’s a far cry from WeWork’s peak private valuation of $47 billion from a SoftBank funding round in early 2019.
Although not yet confirmed, a WeWork SPAC deal would make for one of the most notable in the burgeoning SPAC scene. It looks like WeWork could be getting a second chance to hit the public markets, but this time through the “back door” after getting rejected when it attempted the IPO route, the “front door” in its case.
Last spring, SoftBank marked down its valuation of WeWork from $47 billion to $2.9 billion after taking control of the company. The company has begun working to scale its business under new leadership and appears to be gradually stabilizing.
WeWork is a major provider of shared offices and workspaces across the globe.