SoftBank paid $1.5 billion to WeWork creditors

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SoftBank was seen forced to transfer one thousand 500 million dollars to Goldman Sachs and other credit institutions days before WeWork will declare bankruptcya, while the cost of one of the worst venture capital investments in history continues to rise for the Japanese group.

The payment makes the total SoftBank already committed to WeWork reach more than 16 billion dollars since its initial investment in 2017, as shown by the documents that he was able to analyze Financial Times.

Under the management of the executive director, Masayoshi Son, SoftBank and the investors in your fund Vision Fund financed the rise of WeWorkcompleting an extraordinary monetary transfer to the owners of the buildings, as well as to the employees and other investors who sold their shares to the Japanese conglomerate.

The WeWork bankruptcy wiped out most of SoftBank's investmentalthough the Japanese group will have the opportunity to recover a portion of its losses by converting some of its existing debt into shares of the reorganized company.

The pay of October 31 to credit institutions led by Goldman was linked to a “letter of credit” that SoftBank helped WeWork secure in December 2019, sas shown in the company's bankruptcy filing. At that time, the firm was dealing with the consequences of the departure of Adam Neumann, its co-founder and former CEO, and the fact that it had burned through billions of dollars in investor capital to finance its overzealous expansion.

In fact, SoftBank jointly signed the letter of credit for 1.75 billion dollars, acting as a debtor alongside WeWork to convince wary Wall Street risk management committees.

The executives of SoftBank they believed that guaranteeing the letter of credit was the best option To keep your currently existing capital investment alive: had already invested more than 9 billion dollars through its own balance sheet and Vision Fund at that moment.

A crucial loan 6 billion dollars that WeWork needed and on which it had based its growth plans was linked to the success of the initial public offering. When the IPO was abandoned, the loan slipped through its fingers, jeopardizing the company's finances. Suddenly, executives faced the prospect of bankruptcy, in a turn that highlighted just how deflated the company's prospects had been.

Letters of credit differ from traditional corporate loans in that they banks guarantee that a future payment will be made to a third party even if the company cannot raise the funds.

This was essential for WeWork after what abandoned its IPO, as the owners pushed for commitments to guarantee payment if something went wrong.

Since most letters of credit remain outstanding, About 809 million dollars of the 1.5 billion that SoftBank transferred last week were to cover payment requests from owners that have not yet been carried out. This is a small portion that can be recovered if the owners, for some reason, do not turn to banks to receive payment.

The agreement of 1.75 billion dollars led by Goldman in 2019, as well as the decision of SoftBank to inject $3.7 billion into the company through debt and equity, helped to dispel the fears that WeWork would go bankrupt at the beginning of the decade.

These investments were not the last of SoftBankeven as Son pressured his team to break a deal that would have led the Japanese group to buy $3 billion in shares of WeWork to insiders within the company and provide it with an additional $1.1 billion of new debt financing in 2020.

Yes ok Son and SoftBank were able to withdraw from the debt agreement, Neumann and WeWork's council sued to honor the tender. The parties reached an agreement that led to SoftBank for saler shares worth 1.5 billion in 2021, including $578 million of an investment vehicle controlled by Neumann.

Over the years, deferred payment loans SoftBank and the signed letters of credit allowed WeWork Try multiple restarts of your business. In 2021, WeWork merged with a blank check company to go public, with the company's capital valued at $9 billion, but that number declined as people within the company began selling and WeWork's own problems continued to mount, with the pandemic and remote work depressing occupancy levels.

In March, the teams SoftBank, WeWork and a group of other lending institutions believed that they had developed a plan to put WeWork on a sustainable footing.

SoftBank agreed to forgive part of the debt of WeWork and exchange it for new shares of the group, in the hope that this could reduce the disbursements of WeWork in interest expenses at a time when the Fed had raised rates to their highest level in 22 years. SoftBank It even agreed to fund $300 million of a new loan in exchange for repayment of a portion of the debt it had previously provided to WeWork.

To other former executives of SoftBank They have found it difficult to walk away from WeWork after years of relationship. Rajeev Misra, who ran the firm's $100 billion Vision Fund and sought investments in unprofitable startups, joined the restructuring deal this year.

Your background One Investment Management provided $470 million of the letter of credit that the banks granted to the firm, placing it next to Goldman, Mizuho, ​​Deutsche, Natixis, Citi, BofA, Société Générale and JPMorgan.

Financial Times Limited. Declaimer 2021
Financial Times Limited. Declaimer 2021

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