It’s not often that private companies publicize such deals ahead of going public, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Neumann’s is one of the largest known such transactions.
Startup investors generally do not like it when founders cash out before an IPO, as it can raise questions about how confident they are in the company. But sources told the Journal that Neumann’s borrowings against some of the shares he has in the We Company could show that he is still confident about the company’s future.
The We Company, which has been bankrolled by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, was valued at $47 billion at the time of its last investment round. It’s expected to move forward with an IPO late this year or early next year.
Neumann, who co-founded WeWork nine years ago, has cashed out over the years through a mix of debt and stock sales, according to the Journal. The size of his current ownership in the company is unknown, and he’s set up a family office to invest the proceeds.
The We Company’s vice chairman Michael Gross has been spending money as well, recently paying $28 million for a Brentwood tennis court estate, according to Variety.
Other company leaders who have cashed out prior to IPOs include Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, who cashed out more than $109 million, and Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, who sold more than $300 million worth of stock in the company. [WSJ] – Eddie Small