WeWork raises $700M in bond sale, but concerns are raised

Adam Neumann's company sold 7-year notes at 7.875%

Adam Neumann (Credit: Getty Images and thenails via Flickr)
Adam Neumann (Credit: Getty Images and thenails via Flickr)

WeWork sold $700 million in bonds Wednesday to investors wary of another startup with unstable cash flow entering the debt market.

The New York-based firm that offers hip co-working spaces initially sought to raise $500 million, but the company was able to raise an additional $200 million in seven year bonds with an interest rate of 7.875 percent. JPMorgan Chase advised WeWork on the bond sale.

Adam Neumann’s company doubled its revenue last year to $886 million, with $244 million in cash and spent $1.5 billion on investments. But the firm also lost $933 million last year and has $18 billion in lease obligations.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

The bond documents offered the public a rare glimpse at the company’s financials.

While some expressed concerns over the company’s negative cash flow, few assets and at least $5 billion in lease obligations until 2022,  investors were attracted by the high interest rate and WeWork’s B-credit rating, the Journal reported.

Valued at around $20 billion and bolstered by a $4 billion investment from Softbank, WeWork has sought to expand its portfolio of co-working spaces internationally, including the purchase of an $810 million London office complex and the acquisition of Chinese co-working startup Naked Hub this month for $400 million.

The fundraising effort comes as WeWork fends off competition from rivals in a space that has a low barrier to entry. Knotel, another flexible office space startup, this month raised $70 million in second round fundraising, and is valued at $500 million. The company has leased more than 1.1 million square feet in New York, San Francisco and London, and expects to double in size. [WSJ] — David Jeans