- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
- The billionaire Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison reportedly said WeWork was “almost worthless” in a recent discussion at his house in San Francisco.
- According to a report in Barron’s, Ellison offered a scathing take on WeWork’s business model: “WeWork rents a building from me, and breaks it up, and then rents it. They say, ‘We’re a technology company, and we want a tech multiple.’ It’s bizarre.”
- WeWork is preparing for an initial public offering, but the office-coworking company has faced increasing scrutiny since its S-1 filing, which detailed at least two major cases of self-dealing by WeWork CEO Adam Neumann: WeWork leases several properties owned by Neumann, and Neumann sold the rights to the word “We” to the company for about $6 million.
- As a result, WeWork has paused its IPO and made changes to its governance and some dealings. It was originally supposed to go public this month but is now said to be aiming for the end of the year.
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The billionaire Oracle cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison reportedly called WeWork “almost worthless” in a scathing indictment of the embattled office-coworking company.
He made the statement during a meeting with entrepreneurs on Wednesday at his home in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco attended by Barron’s.
“WeWork rents a building from me, and breaks it up, and then rents it,” Ellison said, according to Barron’s. “They say, ‘We’re a technology company, and we want a tech multiple.’ It’s bizarre.”
- Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WeWork
Ellison’s statements came amid weeks of news stories battering WeWork as the company attempts to go public.
The company was privately valued at $47 billion when it filed an S-1 in mid-August for an initial public offering. One month later, WeWork’s parent company was said to have been mulling going public at a valuation of $10 billion to $12 billion.
It has paused its IPO – it was originally supposed to go public this month but is now said to be aiming for the end of the year.
The story of what happened is complex and ongoing, but one particular thread stands out from the past month of WeWork news: CEO Adam Neumann’s repeated self-dealing while leading the company.
The company’s S-1 revealed that Neumann owned several properties that WeWork leased from him and that he sold the rights to the word “We” to WeWork for nearly $6 million. He has since given back the money for the naming rights and committed to giving his profits from the related real-estate deals back to the company.
WeWork and Neumann have received plenty of criticism in the past month, including from Scott Galloway, the New York University Stern School of Business professor, bestselling author, and tech-industry pundit, who deemed the company “WeWTF” after it filed its S-1.
Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo piled on this week as well.
“This is not the way everybody behaves,” Costolo told The Wall Street Journal in a profile of Neumann. “The degree of self-dealing in the S-1 is so egregious, and it comes at a time when you’ve got regulators and politicians and folks across the country looking out at Silicon Valley and wondering if there’s the appropriate level of self-awareness.”
A WeWork representative declined to respond to Ellison’s criticisms.