On Wednesday, WeWork made its IPO filing with the SEC public. During the first six months of 2019, WeWork’s revenues and losses from operations almost doubled compared to the same period in 2018.
WeWork’s revenues in 2019
The company reported $1.54 billion in revenues in the first half of 2019 compared to $764 million during the same period in 2018. The losses from operations more than doubled to $1.37 billion in the first half of 2019. The company’s net losses only saw a marginal increase to $690 million due to the $470 million interest income.
Notable IPOs in 2019
So far this year, a number of loss-making companies have gone public. While some companies like Slack (WORK) and Beyond Meat (BYND) had astonishing debuts, Uber (UBER) didn’t excite the markets. WeWork expects to raise $3.5 billion in the IPO as early as next month. If so, WeWork would be the second-biggest IPO in 2019. However, being the second-biggest IPO doesn’t help. Uber was trading at $34.2 at 10:59 AM ET, which is way below its IPO price of $45 and at its all-time low.
Slack has also fallen from its IPO high. The company was trading just over $30 at 11:00 AM ET, which is way below its public debut price of $38.5. WeWork’s IPO will be compared to Uber and Slack. All three of the companies face rising competition, which doesn’t help. Uber is battling Lyft and regional players. Slack is fighting Microsoft Teams and Facebook’s Workplace. At the same time, WeWork is fighting local and regional players and IWG. Uber, Slack, and WeWork are all in the Softbank Vision Fund.
Is WeWork’s valuation fair?
After learning from the Uber experience, investors might be wary about buying at a sky-high valuation. WeWork’s valuation of $47 billion translates to 26x its 2018 revenues of $1.8 billion. Airbnb, a profitable unicorn that’s gearing up for its public debut, was valued at $38 billion—less than half of that multiple.
There are already big questions about WeWork’s valuation. Some people think that WeWork might be worth half of its private valuation. The fact that IWG is valued at $4.5 billion doesn’t help. IWG is a profitable and global competitor that earns more revenues than WeWork.
Why is WeWork rushing with the IPO?
WeWork’s IPO is happening sooner than expected. With economic indicators predicting gloom and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) expecting a market crash during this quarter, it makes sense for the company to rush to markets before its too late. Interestingly, one of JPMorgan Chase’s funds has invested in WeWork. JPMorgan Chase will likely be the lead underwriter for the IPO. The bank is also leading the debt financing for the company.
The company hopes for an IPO like Beyond Meat. The company went public and gained 163% when it debuted earlier this year. Beyond Meat was trading at $162.8 at 11:23 AM ET, which is still way above the IPO price.