The Real Deal New York

The We Company laid off as many as 300 employees this week

The company says it plans to hire 6,000 workers this year
By David Jeans and Danielle Balbi | March 01, 2019 05:28PM

The We Company laid off as much as 3 percent of its workforce this week.

The We Company, the SoftBank-backed co-working giant that was last valued at $47 billion, laid off as many as 300 employees this week, The Real Deal has learned. That’s about 3 percent of its workforce and the biggest number of layoffs since its inception.

The company formerly known as WeWork has conducted layoffs globally, across its three divisions: WeWork, WeGrow and WeLive, according to sources.

Asked to comment, the We Company, which says its headcount is roughly 10,000, said that it plans to hire 6,000 employees this year, or 500 per month.

“Our global workforce is now more than 10,000 strong, and we remain committed to continuing to grow and scale in 2019,” the company said in a statement.

The company is said to be conducting annual reviews this week and the layoffs are being positioned as performance related, sources said. The We Company last conducted a series of layoffs in 2016, when the startup was valued at $16 billion. At the time, it let go of 7 percent of its more than 1,000-person workforce and cut back on perks such as salmon-and-bagel breakfasts. At the time, the company told Bloomberg it would resume hiring and increase its headcount that year.

Despite the latest cuts, the company remains in a state of rapid expansion. SoftBank abandoned a $16 billion majority-stake investment in the company earlier this year, reducing its commitment to $2 billion. That deal gave the company a $47 billion valuation, and the company now says it has $6 billion in cash and cash commitments.

The firm has signed a series of big deals this year, including a 200,000-square-foot lease at 199 Water Street, and leases for 110,000 square feet across four locations for its HQ by WeWork platform, a service that provides spaces for companies without WeWork branding.

This month, WeWork Property Advisors, an investment vehicle managed by the We Company and private equity firm Rhône Group, closed on an $850 million deal for the Lord & Taylor’s former Fifth Avenue flagship. The We Company will redevelop the property and use part of the building for its headquarters.