Office sharing startup WeWork cuts valuation target ahead of IPO

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NEW YORK: WeWork has slashed its valuation target by more than half after setting an ambitious goal for the fast-growing office-sharing startup, sources familiar with the company said Thursday.

WeWork´s parent The We Company is eyeing a target market value of around $20 billion for its stock offering expected this month after hearing doubts about its prospects from potential investors over a $47 billion valuation, according to sources who asked to remain anonymous.

The New York-based startup that launched in 2010 touts itself as revolutionizing commercial real estate by offering shared, flexible workspace arrangements, and has operations in 111 cities in 29 countries.

The company lost $1.9 billion last year with revenues of $1.8 billion.

WeWork has ventured into new areas like residential apartments and education, and tells investors they should see its quarterly losses as investments.

But certain moves by co-founder Adam Neumann, such as personally investing in real estate before renting it back to WeWork, have also caused consternation.

The co-working company, which calls itself a pioneer in the “space-as-a-service” business, provides office space decorated with bright colors and industrial themes, offering free coffee, e-supplies and utilities.

The reduced valuation is the latest disappointing news from the multibillion-dollar tech “unicorns” seeking to tap into Wall Street for fresh financing.

Both Lyft and Uber have seen their shares slump after initial public offerings (IPOs) for the ride-hailing services this year, and office collaboration software group Slack has also seen losses after its direct market listing.

WeWork is expected to raise some $3 billion in its IPO. Its latest funding round from Japanese tech group SoftBank was based on a valuation of $47 billion.

New York University marketing professor Scott Galloway last month called the WeWork valuation “an illusion.”

“There is little pricing power… no defensible IP, no technology, no regulatory moats, no network effects, and no flywheel effect,” Galloway said in a blog post.