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WeWork IPO filing: Losses, risks, and platitudes

WeWork IPO filing: Losses, risks, and platitudes
[Photo: courtesy of WeWork]

The We Company, parent company of WeWork, is joining the IPO fray.

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The workspace-sharing platform filed a lengthy S-1 to the Securities and Exchange Commission today, offering a detailed glimpse into its financial health along with a platitude-laden prospectus summary that would make even the most hubristic company founder blush.

Whereas ambitious startups were once content with saying they merely wanted to make the world a better place, WeWork says its company mission is to do no less than “elevate the world’s consciousness,” a phrase that raised eyebrows on social media among journalists who had spent the morning digging into the documents.

But before WeWork can elevate consciousnesses, it’s going to have to do the more grounded work of elevating its business model. The filings show that The We Company generated $1.54 billion in revenue in the first six months of this year, but it reported a net loss of more than $904 million. That’s compared to $722.89 million in the year-earlier period.

Growth has so far not been a problem for the company—it had 527,000 members as of June 30, up more than 90% over the same period last year—but it warned in its diffuse “risk factors” section that it may not be able to sustain or manage that growth effectively. It also warned that it may never achieve profitability.


Related: WeWork grows up (and out and everywhere)


WeWork said its CEO, Adam Neumann, controls a majority of its outstanding voting power. Its classification as a “controlled company” means it can opt out of some typically standard operating procedures, “such as the requirement that our board of directors have a compensation committee and nominating and corporate governance committee composed entirely of independent directors.”

The We Company, which rebranded earlier this year, is expected to make its public debut as early as next month, with an underwriting team that includes JPMorgan Securities and Goldman Sachs. It will trade under the ticker symbol “WE.”

You can read the full filing here.

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