Hedge-fund king Bill Ackman reportedly thinks WeWork Companies Inc. doesn't have much to offer to the investment world amid turmoil surrounding the office-sharing startup’s failed initial public offering (IPO).
The IPO was abandoned in September as investors balked at sky-high valuations - a deal in January had tagged its worth at $47 billion. A rescue effort by SoftBank Group Corp. now values it at just $8 billion.
After the IPO failed, the company also faced questions about its valuation, which once ranged between $60 billion and $90 billion, CNBC.com explained.
The founder of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management reportedly thinks WeWork could be worthless, noting Japanese investment giant SoftBank “should have walked away” from it, the Financial Times said.
“I think WeWork has a pretty high probability of being a zero for the equity, as well as for the debt,” Ackman said at the Robin Hood investor conference on Tuesday, according to the Financial Times. “As someone who has put good money after bad, I think this looks like putting good money after bad,” he said.
Pershing Square could not be reached for comment.
To be sure, Ackman isn't the only voice to question the company's future.
Fidelity Investments cut the value of Contrafund’s stake in WeWork by 35% in September.
Fidelity disclosed on Wednesday that Contrafund (FCNTX) held $193.1 million in Series E WeWork shares at the end of September, down from $295.1 million the previous month, Reuters said.
The valuation cut assumes no shares were bought, sold or transferred between the two periods.
Fidelity declined to comment.
The $100 billion-plus Contrafund is run by Will Danoff, one of the top stock pickers in the U.S. mutual fund industry over the past 25 years. Contrafund bought $179.7 million worth of WeWork’s Series E shares in June 2015, according to fund disclosures. Fidelity valued those shares at $411.5 million at the end of 2018.
Fidelity and other mutual fund companies have invested in pre-IPO companies to juice their returns. WeWork looked like another promising bet before the value of its equity cratered as questions surfaced about its financial viability.
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