The board of WeWork, the cash-starved purveyor of shared office space, is weighing competing financial rescue packages from SoftBank and a financial consortium led by JPMorgan Chase, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
SoftBank, a Japanese technology giant that is already the largest outside shareholder in WeWork, is offering to take a controlling stake in the company by accelerating a $1.5 billion investment it had planned to make next year and by buying up to $3 billion in shares held by other investors, the people said. SoftBank is also offering to put together loans totaling $5 billion from a consortium of financial institutions, including SoftBank.
The JPMorgan proposal consists of several parts, including new bonds, some of which would carry high interest rates, according to people with knowledge of its plans.
The potential cash infusion comes at a critical time for WeWork, which scrapped an initial public offering and ousted its charismatic chief executive last month after Wall Street balked at its huge losses and unconventional corporate governance structure.
WeWork, once considered one of the world’s most celebrated start-ups, was valued by SoftBank at $47 billion in January but had considered selling shares in its initial public offering at a valuation as low as $15 billion. SoftBank’s latest offer to the company values it at a little less than $8 billion.