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Does WeWork Have a Case Against SoftBank?

WeWork, a company that has been mired in controversy, is making a bold move and suing Japan’s SoftBank. WeWork’s special committee is arguing that SoftBank breached its fiduciary duty by withdrawing its $3 billion tender offer.

Last fall, WeWork filed with the SEC to formally withdraw its registration statement. In simpler terms, WeWork no longer planned to come public. Bad press plagued this company, as analysts slashed its valuation over the course of 2019. There was even speculation that WeWork could run out of money.

Near the onset of initial public offering talks for this company, a brokerage house valued WeWork at roughly $100 billion. By the time the IPO was shelved, some estimates valued the firm at $10 billion. Some analysts even called this a classic example of the “greater fool theory.”

In this case, SoftBank did not want to be left holding the bag. Softbank said last week that its decision to withdraw from the tender offer came from its fiduciary duty to its own shareholders. SoftBank cited new investigations into WeWork by government authorities in withdrawing its tender offer.

As per the lawsuit, WeWork is seeking for SoftBank to complete its offer or pay compensatory damages.

WeWork’s special committee of WeWork’s board said in a statement:

SoftBank has already received most of the benefits provided to it under the [Master Transaction Agreement], including broad control of WeWork and additional economic benefits. SoftBank’s wrongful conduct in failing to consummate the tender offer deprives WeWork’s minority stockholders of the liquidity that they were promised.

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