WeWork’s Ousted Founder, Adam Neumann, Aims To Buy Back the Office Sharing Company

The company filed for bankruptcy in November and is attempting to restructure its debts.

AP/Mark Lennihan, file
WeWork's co-founder, Adam Neumann, at Nasdaq's opening bell ceremony on January 16, 2018. AP/Mark Lennihan, file

The ousted co-founder of WeWork, Adam Neumann, is exploring a deal to buy back the office sharing company after expressing dismay over its bankruptcy process.

WeWork’s former chief executive has partnered up with capital sources like Dan Loeb’s Third Point and “stands ready to submit a detailed proposal to purchase the Company or its assets,” according to a letter from an attorney representing Mr. Neumann and Flow Global Holdings. 

Third Point, however, says it has not committed to such a purchase yet.

“Third Point has had only preliminary conversations with Flow and Adam Neumann about their ideas for WeWork, and has not made a commitment to participate in any transaction,” the hedge fund said in a prepared statement, which was first shared with the Financial Times Tuesday.

WeWork filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, just months after sounding the alarm on its ability to stay in business — as the company pointed to increased member churn, financial losses and mounting needs to cut back on its real estate portfolio.

According to Monday’s letter, written by attorney Alex Spiro, Mr. Neumann and his affiliates have been attempting to obtain information from WeWork necessary for a purchase offer since December but have been met with a “lack of engagement” from the company. They still do not have access.

These actions have jeopardized WeWork’s ability to explore options outside of its restructuring agreement, the letter added, and “failed to maximize value for all stakeholders” as a result.

In a statement sent to the AP Tuesday, WeWork said the New York-based company receives “expressions of interest from external parties on a regular basis” and always reviews such approaches while aiming to act in WeWork’s best interests.

“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,” the company added.

Attorneys for WeWork have recently signaled the need for more liquidity during bankruptcy proceedings, with the company notably withholding hefty rent payments to certain landlords as it attempts to renegotiate leases. 

In Monday court proceedings, lawyers for some landlords said this violates bankruptcy rules, the Wall Street Journal and others reported.

Mr. Neumann founded WeWork with Miguel McKelvey back in 2010. In its early years, the startup promised to revolutionize workspaces and saw a meteoric rise — once reaching a valuation as high as $47 billion — but over time, WeWork’s operating expenses soared and the company relied on repeated cash infusions from private investors.

The company went public in October 2021 after its first attempt to do so two years earlier collapsed spectacularly. That debacle led to the ousting of Mr. Neumann, whose erratic behavior and exorbitant spending spooked early investors.

Japan’s SoftBank stepped in to keep WeWork afloat, acquiring majority control over the company. Mr. Neumann’s bid was first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday.

The New York Sun

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