Statement: SoftBank Group drops US$3b WeWork tender offer

Japanese global tech investor SoftBank Group said on Thursday it had terminated a tender offer worth up to US$3 billion to acquire shares in US firm WeWork. — Reuters pic
Japanese global tech investor SoftBank Group said on Thursday it had terminated a tender offer worth up to US$3 billion to acquire shares in US firm WeWork. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, April 2 — Japanese global tech investor SoftBank Group said on Thursday it had terminated a tender offer worth up to US$3 billion to acquire shares in US firm WeWork.

The company said “certain conditions to the tender offer were not satisfied”, but added the decision “will have no impact on WeWork’s operations, customers, five-year business and strategic plan, or the vast majority of WeWork’s current employees”.

The announcement came after reports that a nagging rift has remained between SoftBank Group and WeWork’s board members over the rescue package for the US-based office-sharing start-up.

Among a list of unmet conditions, SoftBank cited “the existence of multiple, new, and significant pending criminal and civil investigations” surrounding WeWork and its co-founder Adam Neumann.

The Japanese conglomerate also pointed to the global impact of the coronavirus which is restricting WeWork’s operations.

Rob Townsend, senior vice president and chief legal officer of SoftBank, stressed the company’s continued commitment to help WeWork.

“The tender offer closing was conditioned on the satisfaction of certain closing conditions... Several of those conditions were not met, leaving SoftBank no choice but to terminate the tender offer,” he said in a statement.

SoftBank Group has been trying to restore its financial health after booking massive losses related to the performance of some investments including WeWork and Uber.

The company has used its US$100 billion Vision Fund to buy some of the world’s top tech start-ups, but some have ended up disappointing expectations. — AFP

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