“We are still in it”: SoftBank still believes in WeWork’s core business

Vision Fund exec acknowledges corporate governance problems; fund has invested billions into embattled co-working giant

Softbank Vision Fund senior managing partner Deep Nishar (Credit: SoftBank, Wikipedia)
Softbank Vision Fund senior managing partner Deep Nishar (Credit: SoftBank, Wikipedia)

After committing a $9.5 billion rescue package for WeWork and shaking up the firm’s management, SoftBank still believes in the embattled co-working giant’s core business idea.

That’s according to Deep Nishar, senior managing partner at SoftBank’s Vision Fund, who spoke at Munich’s Digital Life and Design conference Saturday, according to Bloomberg.

“We are still in it. We are involved. We are helping the company because we believe the idea at its core is very, very good,” Nishar said. “We will help solve WeWork’s problems with corporate governance with the next set of management.”

He added that he doesn’t expect success from every one of the Vision Fund’s 80-plus companies, although it has had some “really good” outcomes.

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The fund’s investment in WeWork has definitely not gone as planned so far, as a botched IPO attempt eventually led to the ouster of co-founder Adam Neumann, and an abrupt halt to the firm’s ambitious expansion plans.

Meanwhile, WeWork’s “core idea” — co-working, rather than speculation and alleged self-dealing — is likely here to stay, most industry observers agree, as flexible office space addresses a need in the office leasing market.

But that doesn’t mean WeWork’s competitor’s are entirely in the clear. Last week, Knotel laid off as much as a third of its New York-focused staff, as the company faces high vacancy rates and a drop in leasing activity. [Bloomberg] — Kevin Sun