Earlier when we reported that Japan's SoftBank, already its largest investor, has offered a $5 billion debt-funded bailout package to WeWork as well as a tender offer of up to $3 billion to buy out existing shareholders in the struggling office subletting company, we pointed out the patently absurd: instead of seeing the roughly $700 million in cash he had already siphoned out of WeWork clawed back (or, better yet, facing the authorities for his immaculate con job), the company's former Chairman and CEO, Adam Neumann, was about to be rewarded with even more cash.
This just gets better: so Adam Neumann will cash out even more— zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 21, 2019
IF WEWORK ACCEPTS SOFTBANK'S OFFER, SOFTBANK WILL LAUNCH TENDER OFFER FOR UP TO $3 BILLION TO BUY SHARES FROM WEWORK EMPLOYEES AND EXISTING INVESTORS
And now we know just how big the reward will be: according to Axios, Neumann will receive "around $200 million to leave the board of directors, give up his voting shares and support SoftBank's takeover."
Why is Neumann getting paid even more money after his disastrous attempt to take the company public and effectively blowing up the IPO market for "growth" companies? Because as part of the deal, SoftBank Corp. (not the SoftBank Vision Fund) will offer a $3 billion tender offer to employees at $20 a share, cutting the company's valuation from $47 billion to less than $8 billion.
As part of its bailout plan to throw even more money down the drain and avoid a total wipeout on its investment, the Japanese conglomerate would also accelerate a $1.5 billion equity investment in the company - scheduled for next year - and SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure will take over as chairman of the startup.
But at the end of the day, all that matters as Axios correctly puts it, is Neumann's 10 votes per share, "which are the only ones that matter", and which will require an additional $200 million to be purchased to make SoftBank the controlling shareholder.
SoftBank's bailout offer comes as WeWork prepares to lay off thousands to curb cash bleeding after an aborted attempt by parent We Co. to hold an initial public offering this fall. Almost of those employees will not receive a single penny.
Ultimately, the proposal, which pumps almost $10 billion into WeWork (the $5 loan portion will come from Japan's Mizuho bank, which means that Japanese pensioners are about to be thrown under the bus as well), would give SoftBank a chance to overhaul the struggling startup's governance and operations, but it would also make WeWork an even larger portfolio risk to SoftBank, which is still working to launch its second Vision Fund. Ultimately, since the vast majority of SoftBank portfolio companies will never make a dime in profit, the repricing will be vicious and will likely require a bailout from the BOJ itself.
As for the Kabbalah-influenced Neumann's $200 million, he may have to think twice before spending it all at once. As we reported last week, Neumann may soon be fending off very angry creditors - starting with JPMorgan - who generously allowed the Israeli "entrepereneur" to siphon off hundreds of millions in cash from the company, usually with the blessing of JPMorgan.
For those who missed it, here is what we wrote last week.
WeWork founder and former CEO Adam Neumann and his wife Rebekah Paltrow-Neumann now find themselves in a difficult predicament: Using a combination of loans against Neumann's WeWork shares, as well as sales of some of his shares on the secondary market, the couple has accumulated a portfolio of real-estate on both coasts reportedly worth over $100 million, according to WSJ.
But the Neumanns didn't stop after buying the six properties; he and his wife also paid for extensive renovations. Recent reports claimed that the couple has been effectively barred from every respectable coop on Fifth Avenue following the collapse of the IPO and reports about Neumann's eratic behavior and drug use. Though that shouldn't matter much since the two have a range of homes to choose from.
The historic home-buying spree took place over several years, as WeWork burned through massive amounts of cash thanks to Adam Neumann's "unorthodox" management technique.
The Neumanns' borrowings could create headaches for the bank that has bankrolled the couple at every turn: JP Morgan Chase. The bank, as WSJ reports, extended close to $100 million mortgages and other loans to Neumann. JPM is also one of the lenders behind a $500 million line of credit that allowed him to borrow heavily against his shares in WeWork parent 'The We Company'. Of this credit line, Neumann has already tapped some $380 million, which puts his lenders in a bit of a bind. The banks probably never anticipated that the IPO would flame out in such spectacular fashion. Now, they're stuck praying for a miracle: That WeWork's new managers might be able to improve the company's financial position to such a degree that the company might be able to go public at a valuation north of $20 billion.
A spokesman for the Neumanns warned that the couple isn't under any pressure from the banks to sell their homes (most of which were purchased over the past few years).
"Adam is not under pressure from the banks or the loans to sell his homes," said a spokeswoman for Mr. Neumann in a statement. She added that none of Mr. Neumann’s homes are being actively marketed for sale. Danny Davis of the Corcoran Group, Mr. Neumann’s longtime real estate agent in New York City, declined to comment.
Now, here's a rundown of the homes owned by the Neumanns, starting with their first major property buy: a landmarked Greenwich Village townhouse built in 1847. It features a wood-burning fireplace and private rear garden.
The couple started renovating the property in 2014. According to court filings, in 2017, a contractor sued the couple for non-payment.
Also in lower Manhattan, the couple bought a collection of six units in this Gilded Age building near Gramercy Park. The price tag for the units? $35 million.
In 2016, as WeWork's valuation was soaring, the Neumanns paid $15 million for Linden Farm, a 60-acre estate in Pound Ridge, NY, a wealthy enclave near Mrs. Patrol-Neumann's childhood home. Records show the couple applied to do significant interior renovations.
Continuing with the theme of buying homes in the Greater New York area. The couple also purchased two homes in the Hamptons.
In 2014, they purchased an under-construction home in Amagansett from Hamptons builder Joe Farrell for $3 million. The house is adjacent to homes owned by actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her mother Blythe Danner. Here's one home.
As WeWork's valuation soared toward its peak, the Neumanns finally branched out to the West Coast. Last year, the couple purchased an 11-acre property in Corte Madera Calif., roughly 15 miles north of San Francisco. The final price? $21.4 million, one of the highest ever paid for a home in the area.
The property is known as "Guitar House". It was once owned by Bill Graham, the rock music promoter. It has a large living room shaped like a guitar. The 13,600 square foot home and surrounding property include a pool, spa, racquetball court and an orchard.