WeWork, the co-working space company that went from a $47 billion valuation to a cautionary tale in business schools, warned Tuesday that it is at risk of bankruptcy.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it posted a net loss of nearly $700 million in the first six months of this year, after recording $10.7 billion in net losses over the previous three years.

“Our losses and negative cash flows from operating activities raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern,” WeWork said in the filing. In accounting, the term “going concern” means a business has enough resources to stay afloat. The company reported about $2.9 billion in long-term debt as of June 30.

WeWork said that if its situation does not improve, it will have to consider options such as selling assets, reducing business activities, and “obtaining relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy code,” according to the filing. Its stock has been trading below $1 for several months and closed at about 21 cents late Tuesday.

“People who follow the company have been expecting this for a while,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. “The clock is ticking down for WeWork.”

In a statement Tuesday, the company struck an optimistic tone, underscoring that it was able to grow its second-quarter revenue by 4 percent year-on-year. It added that it is focused on increasing memberships, optimizing the terms of its real estate portfolio, and reducing its operating costs and that its 777 locations worldwide are occupied at pre-pandemic levels.


Since it was founded in 2010, WeWork has witnessed a rise and fall so dramatic that it has become the subject of several books and academic case studies, as well as a documentary and a fictional miniseries on Apple TV.

Some experts, such as Gordon, say the company’s core business model – renting office space, tricking it out with beanbag chairs and free beer on tap, then renting it out again – is far from revolutionary. But the brand made a name for itself by masterfully charming investors, including SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son, who poured billions of dollars into the company – only to later call the investment “foolish.”

“They were brilliant in creating an aura of being the next big thing, but they were never financially successful,” Gordon said.

WeWork went public in October 2021 after its first attempt to do so unraveled two years prior. Investors had become increasingly concerned with the erratic behavior and exorbitant spending of CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann, leading to his resignation in 2019.

The coronavirus pandemic added to the company’s woes, with many white-collar workers still opting for home desks instead of spaces at offices or locations run by WeWork – which Neumann once branded “the world’s first physical social network.”

Office vacancies in the United States passed 20% early this year, according to real estate services company JLL, and researchers at Columbia University found a 45% decline in office values in 2020, with little recovery projected in coming years.

WeWork has yet to name a permanent CEO since Neumann’s departure.

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