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WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann. Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images.

The Wall Street Journal last night reported that SoftBank Vision Fund is "in discussions to take a majority stake in WeWork," the co-working space giant in which SoftBank last year acquired a 20% stake for $4.4 billion.

The bottom line: Sources say that the two sides remain in negotiations over a new investment, but that control is off the table (at least for now).

WeWork co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann originally was amenable to a deal whereby he'd lose at least short-term control of the company, but with the ability to regain control were WeWork to hit certain revenue milestones (e.g., some sort of clawback). Now, however, the talks involve Neumann retaining control, although the ultimate structure could be pretty convoluted.

But no final agreement is signed or very close to being signed, and there may even be talks with other parties or with SoftBank about alternate structures.

SoftBank basically wants to accelerate its "gain market share at all costs" strategy, which has been talked about inside of WeWork since the day SoftBank first invested.

  • This is similar to what the Japanese giant has employed at other Vision Fund portfolio companies, and a hot topic among VCs has become if it can really work beyond the consumer services sector (particularly in enterprise software, where Vision Fund has been taking a hard look).

WeWork bonds, which recently hit their lowest mark since early June, got a small bump from the report, reapproaching 96 cents on the dollar as of earlier today.

I'm still wondering how the Jamal Khashoggi situationwhich intensified last night — would play into WeWork's willingness to give Saudi-backed Vision Fund an even bigger stake.

  • In that vein, it's worth noting that Sam Altman (Y Combinator), Marc Andreessen (Andreessen Horowitz) and Dan Doctoroff (Google's Sidewalk Labs) reportedly joined an advisory board for the Saudi government's $500 billion mega-city project, called Neom.

Go deeper

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.