Breather to liquidate 400 on-demand offices

Montreal-based firm recently explored sale and now plans to pivot model

National /
Dec.December 16, 2020 05:53 PM
Breather’s Bryan Murphy (LinkedIn, iStock)

Breather’s Bryan Murphy (LinkedIn, iStock)

Breather, a startup that rents office space by the day, has run out of air.

The Montreal-based company plans to shutter more than 400 locations in the United States, Great Britain and Canada. In some cases, it will assign outposts to third parties, who will close them to repay the company’s creditors, the Globe and Mail reported.

“Breather, in its current form as an operator, doesn’t make sense, and, to be frank, I’m not sure it ever made sense,” CEO Bryan Murphy said. “I want to be like Airbnb,” he said, and pivot to an online platform that lets users rent flex-space operated by others.

Breather, which has raised $112 million from investors since 2012, furloughed most of its 120 employees this spring, but the company recently said it had started to bring them back. In October, Breather pivoted to a membership model. But a month later, it reportedly hired bankers to explore a capital raise or sale.

Last week, Breather laid off most of its staff, giving former employees between two and six weeks’ worth of severance, according to Commercial Observer.

The co-working sector has suffered since the onset of the pandemic. With a pay-as-you-go model, Breather offered an even more flexible model than rivals WeWork, Industrious and Knotel.

But a former Breather employee told CO that competition between the companies inflated office rents in the most desirable neighborhoods, and Breather may have overpaid for some locations. Last week, IGS Realty sued Breather over nearly $91,000 in unpaid rent at 334 West 37th Street.

For its part, Knotel is facing a string of lawsuits over rent and is looking to reduce its footprint.

[Globe and Mail] — E.B. Solomont






    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani, Adam Neumann and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son (Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong)
    WeWork and SoftBank settle lawsuit
    WeWork and SoftBank settle lawsuit
    HSBC COO John Hinshaw (Getty, iStock)
    HSBC to shrink its office footprint amid shift to WFH
    HSBC to shrink its office footprint amid shift to WFH
    CBRE CEO Bob Sulentic and Industrious CEO Jamie Hodari (Getty, Industrious/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    CBRE acquires 35% stake in flex-office provider Industrious
    CBRE acquires 35% stake in flex-office provider Industrious
    Columbia Property Trust CEO Nelson Mills and renderings of 799 Broadway. (Columbia, 799 Broadway)
    Columbia Property Trust’s rent collection stays steady in Q4
    Columbia Property Trust’s rent collection stays steady in Q4
    WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (Wikipedia Commons, iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    WeWork slashes rents in some cities
    WeWork slashes rents in some cities
    (iStock)
    Big companies delay returning to offices — again
    Big companies delay returning to offices — again
    Colliers CEO Jay Hennick. (Getty, Colliers)
    Colliers leasing drops 26% in Q4 but revenue stays steady
    Colliers leasing drops 26% in Q4 but revenue stays steady
    SL Green's Marc Holliday with One Vanderbilt and Riverside Investment's John O'Donnell with 110 North Wacker (Photos via SL Green, Riverside)
    NYC, Chicago top office development completions in 2020
    NYC, Chicago top office development completions in 2020
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...