Views on improving the integrity of global capital markets
15 August 2019

Nine Cursory Observations About WeWork

Posted In: Financial Reporting

Ah, the WeWork IPO. Well, technically The We Co., its new name, has claimed the ticker symbol “WE” even though it has not said what exchange it plans to list on. Does this mean Ohio State will get to copyright the word “The”? But back to WeWork. Where to begin? Here’s a cursory look so far:

 

 

  1. All-male board.
  2. Stated mission: “To elevate the world’s consciousness.” Wow.
  3. Three classes of stock. The common stock Class A (for the public) carries one-vote-per-share. Class B and C common stock carry 20 votes-per-share.
  4. Never made a profit since its founding 9 years ago.
  5. Expects no profits anytime soon. Per its SEC filing: “We have a history of losses. We cannot predict whether we will achieve profitability for the foreseeable future.”
  6. Founder and CEO, Adam Neumann, is also a major landlord of the company’s space. In the first half of 2019 the company made cash payments to landlord entities affiliated with Neumann totaling $4.2 million. Future minimum payments are projected to be $237 million.
  7. The name Adam Neuman appears 169 times in the financial prospectus to which the company has responded this was disclosed to “avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.”
  8. Neumann has borrowed several times from his company. In 2016 he borrowed $7 million at an annual interest rate of 0.64%. That loan has been paid back. In April this year the company leant him $365 million at 2.89% interest. In addition, he has taken more than $700 million out of the company through stock sales and debt (Source: Wall Street Journal).
  9. Coined a new non-GAAP financial measure: “Community adjusted EBITDA” which takes out rent, tenancy expenses, utilities, internet, salaries of the building staff, and other “building-and community-level operating expenses.”

Go Buckeyes.

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Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/hometowncd

About the Author(s)
Bristol Voss

Bristol Voss is director of content engagement and publishing at CFA Institute.

2 thoughts on “Nine Cursory Observations About WeWork”

  1. Joe says:

    The first observation is pointless. And a bit insulting. It implies that when one creates one’s company, one has to look for at least a female, a trans, and/or whatever else. What this observation means is that we don’t care about your skills. We care about your gender and looking good, progressive, fair to every gender, and have a board representative of all the colors of the rainbow.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t skilled women and whatnot, but if the most skilled people they found in their immediate vicinity were Male, why would they ever hire a woman? Because so that they can tell the world that they have women on board? Why would one assume that they discriminate women and so on?

    1. Bristol Voss says:

      Point one was an observation of a fact. Not a statement of opinion.

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