Publications

- November 1, 2019: Vol. 31, Number 10

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What do you mean ‘we’? Implications from the WeWork IP-won’t

by Loretta Clodfelter

In the list of potential dangers that could take down WeWork Cos. and its parent firm, The We Co., I had not considered among them the company’s own S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its IPO. An economic downturn pushing its tenant base to cut back on leases, leaving the firm overexposed to a falling office market? Sure, that seemed a potential risk. Office landlords rolling out their own co-working platforms that outcompeted WeWork in the marketplace? Maybe.

Instead, WeWork appears to have collapsed under the weight of its own hubris. The IPO, its withdrawal, the ouster of CEO Adam Neumann — in hindsight, of course, the whole story is what we should have expected. WeWork was overvalued; everyone in the real estate world could see that. But WeWork’s insistence it was not a real estate company meant it seemed such petty real estate concerns about value were irrelevant to its story. Turns out, if the public market investors value your firm as a re

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