Adam Neumann aims to buy back WeWork after being ousted five years ago as CEO

Adam Neumann, the original founder of WeWork, is making moves to regain control of the co-working company he was famously removed from five years ago.

Neumann’s new business, Flow Global, has been trying to engage with WeWork for several months. Lawyers for Flow Global reached out to WeWork’s advisers on Monday, expressing Neumann’s interest in either buying back the company or providing it with debt financing.

However, WeWork’s advisers have shown reluctance to negotiate with their former CEO. According to Neumann’s legal team, WeWork has not been very responsive and has not provided the necessary information for Neumann to make an offer to buy the company or finance its debt. The New York Times reported that WeWork is currently in debt by more than $4 billion.

The letter from Neumann’s lawyers also pointed out that this isn’t the first time WeWork has excluded Neumann from potential deals. Back in October 2022, when Neumann attempted to secure up to $1 billion in financing to stabilize WeWork, the then CEO, Sandeep Mathrani, abruptly halted the process.

Neumann, who was once seen as the visionary leader of WeWork, was forced to leave in 2019 after the company’s unsuccessful attempt to go public. As a significant shareholder, Neumann managed to negotiate an exit package worth nearly half a billion dollars, including $245 million in company stock and $200 million in cash. Following his departure, the details of Neumann’s tumultuous leadership were exposed and later dramatized in the 2022 Hulu miniseries “WeCrashed”.

Since its collapse in 2019, WeWork, once valued at $47 billion, has continued to face challenges. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November as interest rates increased and the demand for office space decreased due to the rise in remote work. Landlords have expressed their frustrations with WeWork, even taking the company to court over concerns about its stability.

SoftBank, the Japanese investment firm that heavily invested in Neumann’s vision for WeWork, is one of the company’s major creditors.

After leaving WeWork, Neumann returned to the business world, founding a new company focused on the residential real estate market. In 2022, venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz gave Flow Global a substantial investment of $350 million to expand Neumann’s concept of branded apartments, a concept similar to WeWork but for renters.

In his quest to regain control of WeWork, Neumann has enlisted the help of hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb, whose investment firm, Third Point, is known for rescuing struggling companies.

Neumann’s lawyers hinted at his plans for WeWork should he regain control in their letter to the company.