The Oklahoman

WeWork gets better welcome with latest attempt to go public

- Michelle Chapman

WeWork became a publicly traded company Thursday after a spectacula­r collapse during its first attempt to do so two years ago.

WeWork is emerging more than a year into a pandemic that closed millions of square feet off office space, and the hope is that a work environmen­t turned upside down is the ideal time for a company that sells shared workspace to thrive.

Investors warmed to the idea shortly after the opening bell, and shares of WeWork rose almost 9%, to $11.27 each.

WeWork leases buildings and divides them into office spaces to sublet to members, which include small businesses, startups and freelancer­s who want to avoid paying for permanent office space. But over time its operating expenses became exorbitant, and it relied on repeated cash infusions from private investors.

The New York City company closed its agreement to merge with BowX Acquistion, a special purposes acquisitio­n company, on Wednesday. SPACs are groups of investors that band together to speed a company to a public listing, usually at the expense of transparen­cy for outside investors.

It has been over two years since WeWork’s first attempt at an IPO blew up in spectacula­r fashion, with CEO and founder Adam Neumann being ousted. The company had been valued around $47 billion before investors began to buck, fed up with exorbitant spending and erratic behavior from Neumann.

WeWork Inc. is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “WE.”

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