July 24, 2019 / 12:53 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-WeWork looking to go public as early as September - source

(Adds comment from analyst, background on WeWork)

By Joshua Franklin and Herbert Lash

July 23 (Reuters) - Shared office space manager WeWork is looking to go public as soon as September, earlier than previously expected, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

The company is expected to make its initial public offering paperwork public in August, the person said.

The developments were first reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

WeWork declined to comment.

WeWork will host an analyst day for Wall Street banks on July 31 as part of preparations for its IPO, Reuters reported last week.

WeWork is also looking to raise $5 billion to $6 billion through a bond offering before the IPO, the source added, requesting anonymity because the matter is private. This is more than it had previously been looking to raise.

The debt offering could provide comfort to those investing in the IPO who might be concerned that the cash burn at WeWork is so great it will need to raise more money after the initial offering, which would dilute their shareholdings.

"That's a very known psychology by underwriters and IPO investors, and (that fear), that’s something people try to guard against," said Adam Troso, head of real estate corporate advisory at Greenhill & Co in New York.

WeWork was recently valued at $47 billion in a private fundraising round, making it one of the most valuable private companies in the world.

However, the money-losing company has faced questions about the sustainability of its business model, which is based on short-term revenue agreements and long-term loan liabilities.

The losses at WeWork's parent company narrowed slightly in the first quarter of 2019 to $264 million as revenue continues to double annually. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; additional reporting by Sathvik N and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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