WeWork filed for bankruptcy this week, but will continue to operate.
Ousted CEO Adam Neumann issued a statement saying it has been "hard to watch from the sidelines."
Sources told Newcomer that they believe he will try to buy back or return to the company he founded.
Improbable as it might seem, there's a theory floating around that WeWork founder Adam Neumann might buy the company, which filed for bankruptcy this week.
Neumann was pushed out after a dramatic series of revelations about how he was running the company as it was going public in 2019.
WeWork was once valued at $47 billion, but that fell dramatically during the public filing period — and the pandemic decimated its core business.
Now, on Eric Newcomer's Substack, people who are familiar with Neumann and WeWork are speculating that the founder may be planning to take the company back. Newcomer says a former WeWork executive told him:
"I think Adam Neumann comes in and buys the company; he's well capitalized and given that the Board is now almost exclusively restructuring specialists, they will take care of all the big problems (getting out of leases, making the company significantly smaller across the board, establishing a sustainable business model, etc)," this former executive texted me. That took me by surprise, so I started asking questions and picked up on even more signs that Neumann is interested. A source familiar with the matter told me that "real people with real money" have asked Neumann if he would join an effort to become involved in the restructuring.
WeWork declined to comment to Insider and a representative for Neumann did not immediately respond.
Neumann, who was portrayed by Jared Leto in a miniseries about the company, left WeWork possibly tarnished, but a very wealthy man after reportedly getting around $770 million during the SPAC proceedings — as well as a big buyout to the tune of $480 million when he was pushed out. In 2022, he was back on the Forbes billionaires' list.
Basically, if he wanted to, he apparently has the money.
Another possible clue? Neumann's own statement this week about the bankruptcy filing. In it, he said how hard it is to watch "from the sidelines." Here's his press release:
As the co-founder of WeWork who spent a decade building the business with an amazing team of mission-driven people, the company's anticipated bankruptcy filing is disappointing. It has been challenging for me to watch from the sidelines since 2019 as WeWork has failed to take advantage of a product that is more relevant today than ever before. I believe that, with the right strategy and team, a reorganization will enable WeWork to emerge successfully.
I should be clear: This is all speculation — and could be totally wrong. We haven't confirmed anything one way or the other.
But as a fan of juicy drama, I sure hope it's not.
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