February 28, 2024

Adam Neumann, chief executive officer of U.S. co-working firm WeWork, speaks during a signing ceremony in Shanghai, China April 12, 2018. Picture taken April 12, 2018.

Adam Neumann, the one-time CEO of WeWork.
Photo: Jackal Pan (Reuters)

The one-time CEO of WeWork and capital providers, including Dan Loeb’s Third Point, have been exploring an offer to buy WeWork out of bankruptcy, letters sent to WeWork’s lawyers and seen by publications including the New York Times (pdf) and Bloomberg have revealed.

In December 2023, Neumann offered to buy the co-working space company or its assets, according to the letter. But the letter does not include details on the price.

Before WeWork filed for bankruptcy in November 2023, the letter stated that Neumann had previously worked to arrange up to $1 billion of financing to stabilize the company in October 2022. But just before a meeting to talk about this—while participants were literally in the air traveling (couldn’t be on Neumann’s jet plane, right?)—WeWork’s current CEO David Tolley shut down the process without explanation.

Beginning in December 2023, in addition to expressing interest in buying WeWork, Neumann also said he would consider providing WeWork with debtor-in-possession financing, a special kind of funding meant for companies that are in bankruptcy. But, the required information needed to determine if Neumann could provide financial support was not produced, according to the letter.

Initially, WeWork said it would create a difficult negotiation environment with landlords. But then, the company eventually suggested that it would accept the financing. Even then, WeWork did not provide the financial numbers to Neumann, the letter noted.

WeWork, which was once worth $47 billion at its peak in 2019, filed for bankruptcy in November 2023. The pandemic would accelerate its demise. Its founder Adam Neumann was an eccentric leader who wanted to make WeWork more than just a shared-office space; during his tenure, WeWork’s mission was to “elevate the world’s consciousness.” After being ousted, Neumann would receive a $445 million payout.

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