Text messages from SoftBank’s Masa Son show suspected inducement to drop $ 3 billion WeWork payment


In the months since WeWork abandoned its IPO plans and ousted CEO Adam Neumann, many of its employees and shareholders expected a $ 3 billion payout from the largest investor. of WeWork – a last chance for many to leave the company.

But undated text messages between Masayoshi Son, the head of SoftBank, and then-newly installed chairman of WeWork, Marcelo Claure, show the two discussed ways to defer the payment first, before it is completely scrapped, according to a new court case filed by Neumann.

Some time after SoftBank announced it would take over WeWork last October in a deal valued at $ 9.5 billion – including the $ 3 billion earmarked for shareholders – Son received a text from Claure, acknowledging a request from SoftBank to delay payment to shareholders, known as a takeover bid.

“It’s great to postpone the closing of the tender … Use any excuse to make sense [sic]”replied Fils.

Claure replied: “Okay. Will use antitrust. I get good at apologies like someone I know very well :). ”

After postponing the take-over bid from February 28 to April 1, shareholders were informed at the deadline that SoftBank would in fact not pay the take-over bid, citing among a number of reasons, ” failure to meet the condition of regulatory approval “which included” antitrust approvals. “

The failed multibillion-dollar payment has since been at the center of several lawsuits filed by shareholders of the global office company. Wednesday’s court record in Delaware Chancellery Court emerged in the case brought by Adam Neumann, which was due to receive nearly $ 1 billion.

Another trial contributed by Benchmark Capital, which anticipated a salary of $ 600 million, is on behalf of a special committee made up of board members and represents hundreds of current and former employees who owned a much smaller share of actions.

In a statement, a spokesperson for SoftBank said, “The tailor-made citations of the documents do not change the facts: Under our agreement, SoftBank had no obligation to complete the takeover bid in which Mr Neumann – the biggest beneficiary – has asked to sell nearly $ 1 billion in shares.

WeWork did not respond to a request for comment.

Once valued at $ 47 billion, WeWork’s future remains uncertain as its hundreds of shared office space has remained largely vacant as employees worked from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month he dump a $ 200 million stake in its China operations to existing shareholder Trustbridge Partners. For other investors, the outlook is particularly bleak: Monday, Fitch Ratings warned that its obligations may default.

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