Japan-headquartered investment firm SoftBank is reportedly in talks to invest between $15 billion to $20 billion in shared office space provider WeWork as it looks to obtain a majority stake in the company.
The investment would most likely come from SoftBank’s Vision Fund that has investors such as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala, The Wall Street Journal reported citing anonymous sources.
The Vision Fund already has a 20% stake in WeWork but the latest investment will provide it a significant controlling force within the company.
The discussions are still at an early stage and there is no guarantee for a deal.
WeWork’s growth has baffled investors and industry players who consider it an over-valued company who might get wiped out in the short-term.
The New York-based company, which leases office space, also released its second quarter earnings for the first time ever this year. The company’s sales more than doubled but WeWork’s losses increased on the other hand.
The shared office space provider indicated the mismatch was mainly because of its expenditure in new sites that will only be operational later this year or by 2019. WeWork is the largest occupier of private office space in Manhattan, with 50,000 members in New York and 30,000 globally.
SoftBank too uses its premises for its office space while there were reports of it moving its headquarters to WeWork space.
The company’s investment in WeWork was not without controversies as many senior executives were opposed to SoftBank’s investment. However, the deal progressed thanks to its billionaire CEO Masayoshi Son.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund has so far invested in companies it believes will shape the future through its innovative technology.
It has stakes in ride-sharing apps such as Uber and its China-based rival Didi Chuxing, electric carmaker Tesla, GM and Paytm among others. The firm is now aiming to launch another $100 billion fund dubbed Vision 2.0 to harness the potential of many such companies.