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A brief history of WeWork, the flying startup facing turbulence

Some board members are seeking to oust the company’s CEO.

In less than a decade, WeWork has been a roaring real-estate success, a unicorn of the future — and a lesson in not believing your own hype. Some directors are planning to push Adam Neumann to step down as chief executive officer. A board meeting is set for Monday, according to people familiar. Here’s a look at the company’s brief and volatile timeline so far:

2010: Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey found WeWork to create shared workplaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small businesses. It opens its first location in the SoHo section of Manhattan.

2013-15: Company signs dozens of leases. Some investors grow nervous about the spending binge because it’s assuming fixed long-term commitments based on presumptions about an unpredictable customer base.

2016: WeWork opens sites in India, expands into multiple locations in China.

July 2017: Company announces an expansion into Latin America, including new locations in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.

September 2018: WeWork becomes the biggest private office tenant in Manhattan after becoming the largest occupier of office space in London and Washington, D.C., earlier that year.
Investors Start to Cool

Summer 2018: Neumann reportedly smoked marijuana on a private jet to Israel. The plane company refused to fly him back.

January 2019: The big rebrand. We Company has three distinct business lines: WeWork, its main office space-rental arm; WeLive, which currently operates two apartment buildings with communal design; and WeGrow, which runs an elementary school in New York City.

July: Bloomberg reports WeWork is looking to go public in September, and is targeting a share sale of about $3.5 billion.

August 2: WeWork reportedly seeks $6 billion in financing through a letter of credit facility and a delayed-draw loan, but only if the company raises at least $3 billion in the anticipated IPO.

Big losses

August 14: S-1 prospectus is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO. The prospectus lays out losses of $2.9 billion in the past three years and $690 million in the first six months of 2019.

September 5: WeWork is said to consider a valuation between $20 and $30 billion in its IPO, according to people familiar with the matter. The range could end up closer to $20 billion, says one of the people.

September 8: Dow Jones reports WeWork considered dropping its valuation below $20 billion.

September 13: Reuters reports that the company’s valuation has fallen between $10 and $12 billion in the IPO. The company says it will trim the voting advantage that gives Neumann sway over the board.

September 16-18: WeWork delays IPO to October at the earliest. Its bonds drop the most on record.

September 20: Wendy Silverstein, the co-head of WeWork’s real estate investment arm, quits.

September 22: Some board members seek to remove Neumann as CEO.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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Maybe the CEO was extra high given the fact that he reportedly already cashed in on $700m?

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