SoftBank plans to up its stake in WeWork in the latter's planned initial public offering, even as the money-losing commercial real-estate giant is struggling to attract other investors, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The Japanese conglomerate, which oversees the $100 billion Vision Fund, plans to buy at least $750 million worth of WeWork shares in its IPO, The Journal reported. That would represent around a quarter of all the shares the coworking company plans to sell in the offering, in which it is expected to raise at least $3 billion.
With the move, SoftBank would increase its total investment in WeWork by about 7%, assuming it doesn't sell any shares in the offering, pushing it to beyond $11 billion. To date, the conglomerate has invested $10.65 billion in WeWork and its subsidiaries, according to WeWork's public offering document.
SoftBank representatives did not return a call seeking comment. WeWork representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Earlier Friday, WeWork announced in updated offering filings that it is revamping its corporate governance, cutting in half the number of votes CEO Adam Neumann will get for his shares from 20 each to 10 each, and committing to having a board in which the majority of directors are independent.
Also, the company is now considering going public with a market capitalization of as little as $10 billion. In January, SoftBank privately valued WeWork at $47 billion, when it made a follow-on investment in the company. Earlier this week, the company was talking about a potential market capitalization at IPO of $15 million to $20 million.
The company has reportedly faced pushback from the public investors it is trying to woo, thanks to concerns about its governance, valuation, business model, and potential vulnerability in a recession.
Softbank has reportedly encouraged WeWork to not go forward with its IPO.
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