WeWork almost signed a deal with its largest financial backer, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son, right before Christmas. The investment would have ranged as high as $20 billion, valuing the company at $50 billion.
Due to market turmoil last month, SoftBank’s stock fell 20%. WeWork’s founder and CEO Adam Neumann said that Son revealed the deal was no longer attainable.
Despite this, Neumann was back at the negotiating table in just one day. Now, WeWork and SoftBank have announced a deal of $2 billion, putting the company at a $47 billion valuation.
The company has yet to face a real recession yet, but economists are predicting one for 2019 and 2020.
“When 2019 comes and if the world goes into a real downturn, the one thing you are not going to see us do is be afraid or slow down or take less risks,” Neumann said. “For me, a downturn is not scary. It’s an opportunity.”
At the WeWork Global Summit, Neumann is announcing a major corporate shift when the company rebrands as The We Company in an effort to push the company beyond commercial real estate.
The We Company will consist of three branches: WeWork, its main office business; WeLive, its residential units; and WeGrow, a business that includes an elementary school and coding academy. The company also aims to add an additional 1,000 engineers.
Neumann says that expanding beyond office space has always been a part of the plan, and now the company is financially comfortable enough to executive its many ambitions.