Adam Neumann, SoftBank near settlement agreement

Deal would retain Neumann’s majority stake in WeWork

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Adam Neumann (Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Adam Neumann (Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

Adam Neumann could walk away with a $500 million golden parachute from WeWork, the beleaguered co-working company he co-founded.

SoftBank and Neumann are close to reaching a settlement agreement that would allow Neumann to sell $500 million in shares, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources “familiar with the matter.” The agreement has not yet been formalized or formally announced, and a virtual trial is still scheduled for Mar. 4.

The dispute between Neumann and SoftBank arose after the conglomerate, led by Masa Son, backed out of a 2019 deal to bail out the company by buying $3 billion in its shares. In 2020, after WeWork carried out multiple rounds of layoffs, SoftBank reneged on the deal, citing regulatory concerns and ongoing government investigations.

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In May 2020, Neumann sued SoftBank — once the co-working company’s biggest financial backer — and accused the Japanese conglomerate of “secretly taking actions to undermine” the $3 billion bailout. SoftBank, Neumann alleged, had long been working to scuttle the deal.

WeWork also sued SoftBank last year, alleging that the conglomerate wrongfully exited the bailout deal.

The embattled co-working company, now led by CEO Sandeep Mathrani, is once again considering an IPO, this time via a special-purpose acquisition company, after its attempt to go public in 2019 failed spectacularly. Going public via a SPAC would value the company at around $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal previously reported.

[Bloomberg News] — Georgia Kromrei

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