The Daily Dirt: Adam Neumann returns $6M he made from trademarking the word “We”

TRD New York /
Sep.September 05, 2019 02:15 PM
WeWork CEO Adam Neumann (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

WeWork CEO Adam Neumann (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

The We Company is getting ready to hit the road … but just made a few quick changes.

The company — parent to co-working giant WeWork — is gearing up to meet investors as soon as next week ahead of its planned initial public offering, Bloomberg reports. The pre-IPO roadshow includes stops in New York and San Francisco.

Last month, the We Company filed its S-1 disclosure with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The disclosure was met with a wave of criticism, which pointed to the company’s massive losses and perhaps overblown valuation. For the first half of 2019, the company (valued at $47 billion) generated $1.5 billion in revenue, but recorded net losses of $689 million.

Ahead of its roadshow, the We Company has made a few changes in response to some of the backlash inspired by the S-1. The company added a female board member, Frances Frei, who helped guide Uber through a leadership crisis in 2017. Last month’s filing revealed an all-male board while also touting a “culture of inclusivity.”      

An updated S-1 filed Wednesday also revealed that CEO Adam Neumann is returning $5.9 million worth of stock to the We Company. An LLC controlled by Neumann was handed the tidy sum for selling a trademark for the word “We” to, yep, the other company he controls. The filing notes that Neumann directed the We Company to “unwind” the agreement, meaning that he will return the stock, but the We Company will keep the rights to “We.” The filing doesn’t note that critics FREAKED out about the deal nor that that perhaps had a hand in the decision. 

A New Jersey judge ruled that Compass was “complicit” in accepting privileged information from an ex-Realogy executive. 

Judge Maritza Berdote-Byrne found that Reaology provided “convincing evidence” that Compass hired executive Urvin Pandya away from Realogy and tried to get around a non-compete agreement he had signed by creating a “dummy” job for him, E.B. Solomont reports. The judge pointed to an email between Compass recruiters, in which they described Pandya’s new position as a “dummy job created by Finance to hire Urvin.” 

“The email attached… admits to creating this dummy position,” she said. “It’s not a smoking gun, but it’s about as close as you get.” 

On top of that, Pandya allegedly attended a meeting with higher-ups at Realogy just before he resigned to go work for Compass. 

This ruling stemmed from a May lawsuit, separate from a wide-ranging complaint Realogy lobbed at Compass in July, which accused the SoftBank-backed firm of “predatory” poaching and unfair business practices. Still, this latest decision appears to be a key victory for Realogy in building a case against Compass and perhaps for others who have pursued claims related to trade secrets against the firm.  

What we’re thinking about next:
Will the United Brotherhood of Carpenters take over Local 926 following the arrest of its president? Send a note to [email protected]

CLOSING TIME
Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded on Wednesday was for a condo unit at 15 Hudson Yards, at $7.2 million.
Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for a retail building at 3860 Nostrand Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, at $27.7 million. 

BREAKING GROUND
The largest new building filing of the day was for a 308,314-square-foot warehouse building at 270 Richards Street in Red Hook. Thor Equities filed the permit application.

NEW TO THE MARKET
The priciest listing to hit the market on Wednesday was for a condo unit at 200 Central Park South, at $20 million. Compass’ Carol Raskin has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…
A presidential forum on climate change was held tonight at 30 Hudson Yards. The town hall featured 10 candidates — Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t qualify — and was hosted by CNN, which recently moved its New York headquarters to Hudson Yards. Some elected officials and advocacy groups criticized the venue, given that it’s owned by Steve Ross’ Related Companies. Ross’ decision to host a $100,000-a-plate fundraiser for President Trump last month led to boycotts of other businesses owned by Ross, including Equinox and SoulCycle. Though Hudson Yards is built with various sustainable qualities (it is on its own microgrid), Ross’ support for Trump — who has rolled back climate change-mitigation regulations — is seen by some as out of step with the Green New Deal.

Top stories from our other markets:

NATIONAL
Serena Williams notched her 100th career win at the U.S. Open in front of a jubilant crowd in Flushing Meadows on Tuesday night, but the 23-time Grand Slam champion has also served up some big real estate wins over the years. The tennis superstar —who will play in the semifinals on Thursday — isn’t the only star player on tour who has lobbed some of her millions at the luxury residential market. TRD compiled a list of star players on tour who have spent millions on luxury real estate. 

CHICAGO
It sure looks like that Amazon has inked one of the biggest industrial deals in Edens corridor this year. The e-commerce giant just posted a job listing at 3639 Howard Street in Skokie, a 237,000-square-foot industrial facility in the Skokie Commerce Center that had been on the market until this morning. The building, a last-mile warehouse facility, is owned by Texas-based Hillwood Investment Properties, which claims to have built about 183 million square feet of industrial properties across North America and Europe.

LOS ANGELES
Last week, NBC Universal’s Ron Meyer sold his sprawling Malibu estate for $100 million to Whatsapp co-founder Jan Koum. That deal, amid an otherwise lackluster Los Angeles luxury market, may have the motivation for a certain Malibu seller now listing the oceanfront estate he has owned for 25 years. Michael Flannery, an individual who is connected to real estate and publishing companies, has listed his Guy Dreier-designed home in Malibu Beach for $65 million. Deed records reveal Flannery has owned the property since 1993.

MIAMI
Fort Lauderdale broker Howard Elfman is taking aim at Jay Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman’s Florida brokerage, in a recently filed lawsuit against the real estate company. Elfman sued Douglas Elliman in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleging Parker backed out of an agreement to pay him an 8 percent commission rate for sales at Riva, a 100-unit condo building at 1180 North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale.


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