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WeWork bond drops, spread hits a record on report of delayed share tender

WeWork’s 7.875 per cent note due in May 2025 fell 2.25 cents on the dollar to a bid of 74 cents.

Nov 15, 2019, 09.59 AM IST
WeWork’s junk bond price dropped and its risk premium shot to a record high on Thursday following a report that its main backer still hasn’t delivered on a plan to buy $3 billion (£2.34 billion) of stock from existing shareholders.

The Real Deal, citing anonymous sources, said Japan’s SoftBank Corp (9434.T) has yet to commence the tender offer that was part of a $9.5 billion rescue package for the money-losing shared-office operator.

An investor who requested anonymity confirmed to Reuters that there have been delays, but he had no more details.

“(The delays) will likely be resolved,” the investor said in a text, asking not to be named because the discussions between investors and SoftBank were confidential. “Lots of anxiety.”

The We Company, owner of WeWork, told bondholders on Wednesday net losses in the third quarter more than doubled to $1.25 billion as it added a record number of desks to its global network but was unable to control rising costs.

SoftBank agreed in October to the rescue package that would result in it owning almost 78 per cent of WeWork if the tender were fully subscribed, according to a presentation to bondholders reviewed by Reuters.

The tender was supposed to have begun five business days after an initial payment of $1.5 billion to WeWork was in place, The Real Deal said, citing a letter from SoftBank to WeWork investors. The payment was made on Oct. 30, but sources told the publication that no tender offer has been extended.

WeWork’s 7.875 per cent note due in May 2025 fell 2.25 cents on the dollar to a bid of 74 cents, according to Refinitiv data.

The bond now yields a record 15.02 per cent and its spread, a measure of the premium investors demand for the added risk of holding WeWork’s bond rather than safer securities like U.S. Treasury debt, widened to a record 13.40 percentage points.

Losses have widened at WeWork as costs have outpaced the company’s breakneck expansion, which new management aims to curb after a disastrous effort to go public was shelved in September.

A pipeline of existing leasing commitments suggests WeWork’s rapid growth will likely continue into 2020.

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