SoftBank invests $300 million in office-sharing space provider ‘WeWork’

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The insistent speculations of SoftBank pouring massive capital into co-working space provider WeWork might’ve finally proven true. Citing sources aware of the development, Reuters suggests that the Japanese telecom and communication giant has finally topped up WeWork’s coffers with the first installment of a multi-million-dollar investment. It is said to have invested $300 million at a massive valuation of more than $17 billion. This new investment was discovered in a recent securities filing, first by WSJ.

Further, the sources continue to add that the said WeWork investment is just the first tranche of a much larger funding round which is expected to flood the company’s coffers with about $3 billion or more. The additional funds are expected to be infused using the $100 billion ‘The Vision Fund,’ being set up by SoftBank in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund. This pool of capital is being collected to drive investments into technology startups building artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and connected devices.

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Thus, the upcoming investment into WeWork from the awe-spiring tech technology focused fund has sparked a debate among people. Analysts have raised arguments based on the integration of technology in a shared office space providing startup. They believe that it’s completely unrelated to what SoftBank promised while announcing the fund, which is being located in London.

For the same, SoftBank is pouring close to $25 billion, with $45 billion and $15 billion coming in from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. respectively. Apple, Qualcomm, and Oracle’s chairman Larry Ellison are also committing $1 billion each towards the fund.

WeWork, for those unaware, is a New York-based shared and collaborative office space provider which was started by a duo — Miguel McKelvey, Adam Neumann back in 2010. Their primary goal is to provide startups (or entrepreneurs) with temporary working space and services in the form of desks or complete offices.

They also provide you with 100+ necessary services, Wi-Fi, printing, refreshments, cleaning services and meeting room access among others. The coworking trend is steadily catching up across the globe and WeWork has already reached 40,000 members from over 23 cities. Talking about their mission statement on the official website, the founder say,

We wanted to build a community. A place you join as an individual, ‘me’, but where you become part of a greater ‘we’. A place where we’re redefining success measured by personal fulfillment, not just the bottom line. Community is our catalyst.

The additional investment into WeWork could be the very investment that comes out of the massive $100 billion fund being launched by SoftBank in the coming weeks. But, there is another transaction that could be the very first if the telecommunications giant wants it to be. The Vision Fund is acquiring a 25 percent stake in SoftBank-owned U.K-based chipmaker ARM Holdings, which it had recently acquired for a massive $32 million.

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