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WeWork founder Adam Neumann has reportedly signed on to an incentive deal that allows SoftBank to take the startup private in a deal that may value it at more than $50 billion, according to a Bloomberg report. That comes on the heels of Leena Rao’s scoop earlier this year that the giant Japanese financial holding company is acquiring a 9.9 percent stake in WeWork for as much as $3 billion.
WeWork’s valuation goes from $12 billion today to $47 billion if the deal closes, according to the new report. SoftBank is offering Neumann a $960 million payout if weWork takes the company private. He’ll keep control of the company.
Neumann, who recently put more money into the company in an effort to prove WeWork can compete with the large shared office space providers, led a $50 million round for the startup in January, bringing the total amount he’s put into the company to $650 million, he disclosed in a chat at Re/code’s Decode conference earlier this year.
News of Neumann’s incentives comes less than two weeks after former Googler Nathan Burris left his role as chief operating officer at WeWork to join Home2 and work on both Nest and Microsoft’s Internet of Things strategy. Burris was replaced by Josh Kushner, a brother of an investor with a prominent Trump Family connection and president Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner’s previous role at SoftBank was an executive-level position in the company’s software division.
Neumann is known for doing big deals to privatize his companies. Earlier this year, he announced he was selling his entire stake in business transportation startup Uber to Japan’s SoftBank and a consortium that includes Saudi Arabia’s General Electric as strategic investors for $11.25 billion.
WeWork executives declined to comment. SoftBank did not respond to requests for comment.