The We Company will file to withdraw its initial public offering.
WeWork’s parent The We Company said Monday it will file to withdraw its initial public offering, just days after the SoftBank-backed office-sharing startup dismissed founder Adam Neumann as its Chief Executive Officer.
WeWork’s decision to pull its IPO was predicted by analysts after the firm postponed the share sale earlier in September, following push-back from perspective stock market investors over its growing losses and criticism over Neumann’s eccentric leadership.
“We have decided to postpone our IPO to focus on our core business, the fundamentals of which remain strong,” WeWork’s newly appointed co-CEOs, Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, said in a statement Monday. “We have every intention to operate WeWork as a public company and look forward to revisiting the public equity markets in the future.”
SoftBank, which owns nearly a third of The We Company, began investing in the company in January, at a time when it was valued at $47 billion. Nevertheless, investor skepticism led to it considering a potential IPO valuation of as low as $10 billion, Reuters reported earlier this month.
Startups not a secure investment
WeWork’s ill-fated IPO marks a difficult period for startups. Last week, Hollywood talent and media agency Endeavor Group Holdings canceled its initial public offering, while shares of Peloton Interactive Inc, the fitness startup known for on-demand workout programs, slid by up to 7% upon their market debut. Earlier in September, teeth alignment firm SmileDirectClub Inc also opened to a disappointing debut.
Before the high-profile IPO struggles this month, 2019 had been a promising year for debut offerings. With nearly $17.4 billion raised, May was the biggest month for IPOs on US exchanges since September 2014.
Nevertheless, more than half of the May total was Uber’s $8.1 billion offering. Ride-sharing firms like Uber and Lyft went public with high expectations, only to see their shares fall considerably due to investor concerns over their steep losses.
The trend shows a disconnect between companies’ lofty private valuations and public expectations that are skeptical of even well-known brands.
Analysts believe that such disappointments, along with unsettled economic conditions, could shut down many IPOs for the rest of the year—and maybe deep into 2020, when the next group of marquee IPO candidates, like Airbnb, could potentially find themselves entering an even gloomier market and geopolitical environment.
The signs, for now, are that sharing-economy startups, especially late-stage companies, are going to have a difficult time going public and the appeal of selling rather than making public offerings will increase.