WeWork, the coworking company, has filed confidentially to go public, its employees were told Monday, becoming the latest privately held giant to consider heading to the stock markets.
The company initially filed paperwork to go public with regulators in December, according to the memo, which is signed by Adam Neumann, a co-founder, and was reviewed by The New York Times. The company made changes to that filing last week, he wrote.
“We have regularly focused on how to take our business to the next level in every aspect,” Neumann wrote to employees.
Like many of the other richly valued startups that have planned their stock-market debuts, WeWork posts steep losses — and shows no sign of turning a profit anytime soon.
The company was valued at $47 billion in its last fundraising round, including the new money raised. That private valuation would be put to the test by the IPO process. While WeWork’s revenue is growing quickly — it doubled in 2018 to $1.8 billion — so are its losses, which more than doubled to $1.9 billion.
Those companies, like WeWork, Uber and Lyft, have argued that growing quickly is more important, and will eventually prove more lucrative, than breaking even right now.
Begun as a coworking space in Manhattan eight years ago, WeWork has become one of the world’s biggest corporate landlords. It continues to expand rapidly into new markets.
The initial filing to regulators was made before the company’s talks to sell a majority stake in itself to SoftBank, the Japanese technology conglomerate, ran into trouble. SoftBank ultimately invested a further $2 billion in the company, for a total of $10.5 billion.
A spokesman for WeWork declined to comment.