WeWork Limits C.E.O.’s Power as It Presses Forward With Stock Sale


The parent company of WeWork said on Friday that it has reduced the control of its co-founder, chairman and chief executive, Adam Neumann.

The changes suggest that the company, the We Company, a fast-growing purveyor of shared work spaces, intends to move forward with its plans for an initial public offering. The moves appeared to be a response to prospective investors who balked at the extent of Mr. Neumann’s influence over the business and the valuation it was seeking.

But whether the changes will be enough to allay those concerns — especially since the company is expected to lose money for years to come — remains unclear.

The We Company now intends to embark on a road show starting as soon as Monday, where executives and underwriters pitch money managers on the offering in cities across the United States, according to people with knowledge of its plans.

The We Company’s changes came after days of discussions between Mr. Neumann, advisers to the company and others about how to salvage the offering — or whether to delay it altogether, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The talks were propelled by the investor concerns, which had led the We Company and bankers to discuss lowering its valuation in the offering to as little as $15 billion, down from a $47 billion valuation that had been set in January.

The company also faced pressure from one of its biggest current investors, the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, to delay the offering rather than price itself at such a low level, people with knowledge of those discussions have said. SoftBank has invested about $10.5 billion into WeWork over the years, and its last investment was what set the $47 billion valuation.

But throughout the discussions, Mr. Neumann said that he wanted to go forward with the offering, these people added.

The We Company also disclosed in the new prospectus that it had selected the Nasdaq stock exchange as the market where its shares will trade. The lateness of the decision — usually such a choice is made much earlier in the I.P.O. process — underscores the turbulence that has dogged the offering’s planning.



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