Japanese telecom giant mulls $1B WeWork stake

SoftBank had talks with the co-working company before
January 30, 2017 06:22PM

From left: WeWork’s Chelsea headquarters and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son

WeWork has yet to open a location in Japan, but it could soon get an enormous investment from the land of the rising sun. Tokyo-based SoftBank is considering paying more than $1 billion for a stake in WeWork as part of a $100 billion technology fund it is currently raising.

Any deal wouldn’t be completed before the fund closes, which is scheduled for mid-February. The investment would likely match or surpass the $17 billion valuation the startup reached in October, when an investor group including Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels pumped $260 million into the firm.

SoftBank, a telecommunications and investment firm, had considered buying a stake in WeWork TRData LogoTINY before, but backed off. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that a deal is far from certain this time around amid concerns that WeWork’s stock is too expensive and that the office company doesn’t qualify as a tech firm.

The Real Deal recently reported that WeWork has quietly been adjusting its business model away from a tech startup and toward a more conventional American corporation. [WSJ] — Konrad Putzier