By Liz Hoffman and Maureen Farrell
WeWork's board is expected to meet tomorrow to weigh emergency-financing options including a takeover by SoftBank Group Corp. that would slash the co-working company's valuation to about $8 billion and alleviate a looming cash crunch.
Ahead of a deadline tonight to submit bids, SoftBank has offered to lend $5 billion to the struggling startup and accelerate a $1.5 billion equity investment that had been scheduled for next year, people familiar with the matter said. SoftBank also would offer to buy more than $1 billion of stock from existing investors and employees, some of the people said.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is expected to field a competing loan package that would bring together a group of outside investors. There is no guarantee it will be able to, and the terms it has outlined to potential investors so far are more expensive and complicated than what SoftBank is offering.
SoftBank's offer would value WeWork at less than half of what the company had been looking to fetch in a now-scrapped initial public offering. It is even further from the $47 billion WeWork at which was valued in a funding from SoftBank in January.
SoftBank's offer, first reported earlier this month by The Wall Street Journal, would further sideline Adam Neumann, WeWork's flamboyant co-founder who was recently forced out as chief executive. SoftBank would likely buy some shares from Mr. Neumann and would seek to further diminish his voting control over the company he co-founded in 2010, some of the people said.
A top SoftBank executive, Marcelo Claure, would succeed Mr. Neumann as board chairman and would head a search for outside leadership, including potentially a new CEO to succeed the two men who have been sharing the job since Mr. Neumann's departure.
--Eliot Brown contributed to this article.