People stand outside a WeWork co-working space in New York City, New York U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
(Reuters) – Shared office space manager WeWork Cos is looking to raise $3 billion to $4 billion in debt before it goes public, a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday, a move aimed to fuel investor confidence in the company.
Money-losing WeWork has faced questions about the sustainability of its business model, which is based on short-term revenue agreements and long-term loan liabilities. A substantial debt offering could allow it to pitch itself to potential investors in a planned initial public offering (IPO) as having sufficient funding to see itself to profitability.
The money raised via the debt offering, which will be separate from funds WeWork would receive in an IPO, could grow as big as $10 billion over the next few years, the source said.
WeWork has met with the chief executives of investment banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co to discuss the debt offering, the source said, cautioning that there is still no certainty the offering will ultimately materialize.
A spokesman for WeWork declined to comment. A representative for Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for JPMorgan declined to comment.
The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported news of the potential debt offering.
WeWork, which earlier this year was rebranded as the We Company, has filed paperwork for an IPO. The listing could encounter a cool reception after the struggles of Lyft Inc (LYFT.O) and the underwhelming debut by Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N).
The We Company said in May losses narrowed slightly in the first quarter from a year earlier to $264 million. The company was recently valued at $47 billion in a private fundraising round and has received backing from some of the world’s biggest investors, including Japan’s SoftBank.
Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Additional reporting Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese