WeWork has sued SoftBank after the Japanese conglomerate said last week that it’s backing out of a $3 billion offer for shares in the struggling office-sharing startup.
In the lawsuit, which was widely expected after the tender was yanked last week, a special committee on the board of WeWork’s parent We Co. alleged that SoftBank had breached fiduciary duty to minority shareholders by not following through with the offer.
“SoftBank’s failure to consummate the tender offer is a clear breach of its contractual obligations … as well as a breach of SoftBank’s fiduciary obligations to WeWork’s minority stockholders, including hundreds of current and former employees,” the special committee said in the statement.
The offer would have mostly enriched just a few wealthy investors, including disgraced co-founder Adam Neumann, who would have made off with a nearly $2 billion golden parachute even after his company’s IPO plans imploded.
Still, the tender also would have given hundreds of millions to WeWork employees who have seen their equity in the company shrivel after last year’s flopped IPO. Last week, Softbank said it was concerned about its fiduciary duty to its own investors.
The lawsuit comes just days after The Post reported that the struggling office-leasing giant is in talks to hire an outside adviser to help it renegotiate its leases as the coronavirus pandemic hammers its business around the world.
“As part of our plan to seek profitable growth, we are conducting an in-depth review of operations and assets globally in order to rightsize the business and optimize our real-estate portfolio,” a WeWork spokesperson said in late March. “As we work through this process, we are working with industry partners where appropriate.”
With Post wires
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