The Real Deal New York

Adam Neumann complained to Jon Gray after Blackstone bet on rival: report

WeWork CEO doesn’t want landlords signing leases with competitors
December 20, 2017 11:55AM

From left: Jonathan Gray, Shlomo SIlber and Adam Neumann

Adam Neumann is not happy when his landlords partner with rival co-working companies, and he isn’t shy about letting them know.

WeWork’s CEO criticized several landlords for deals with competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported. After Blackstone Group invested in a London-based co-working company, Neumann called the private equity firm’s real estate head Jonathan Gray to complain, sources told the Journal. The two firms have done deals since.

The co-working company is taking an increasingly tough stance against its rivals amid growing competition for tenants and a dip in its occupancy rate. Over the fall, WeWork sent out offers to tenants at rival firms like Knotel or Bond Collective offering a year of free rent if they switched over.

“At first we were freaked out,” Bond Collective founder Shlomo Silber told the Journal, adding that in the end fewer tenants left than he had feared. WeWork said it ended the free-rent promotion.

Meanwhile, Knotel has accused WeWork employees of corporate espionage.

“We want to be their friends, we want to be their partners — potentially we want to acquire them,” Neumann said at a New York Stock Exchange event over the summer, referring to competitors. [WSJ]Konrad Putzier