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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

WeWork is moving forward with its IPO, as this space has repeatedly predicted, despite recent reports that major investor SoftBank was pushing for a delay.

Between the lines: It's unclear if SoftBank leaked word of its own resistance. But lots of people think SoftBank was the source, which might as well be the same thing in terms of future perception among founders and venture capitalists.

It makes little sense for executives within WeWork (i.e., people with stock options) to tell reporters that investors don't want the IPO. It makes even less sense for the bankers. And that leaves SoftBank, which knows it overpaid earlier this year without strong anti-dilution protections.

  • If WeWork doesn't go public, SoftBank needn't write down the value of its investment. Or at least not until after Vision Fund 2 finishes fundraising.
  • SoftBank already is dealing with Uber's public market flop.
  • It has added pressure with WeWork, given the perception that SoftBank pushed an accelerated expansion plan that led to nearly $2 billion in 2018 losses.

But, but, but: The trouble, of course, is that WeWork needs cash. From somewhere.

  • It only gets to access a fully-committed $6 billion credit facility if it raises at least $3 billion in the IPO by year-end.
  • WeWork theoretically could restructure the loan based on a similarly-sized private infusion from SoftBank, but it's unlikely given that Wall Street wouldn't be able to play the trade's other side.
  • SoftBank likely would prefer to be WeWork's bank, maybe even as a structured deal that wouldn't create a public mark (at least not yet).
  • Sure it might be overpaying yet again, but that delta would easily be swallowed up by Vision Fund 2 fees. So why not dish that the IPO is on the road to perdition? Or, if WeWork still persists, create the conditions for road-show failure, so that SoftBank can catch the ashes with a highly-structured pillow?

The bottom line: Late-stage venture capital has always been more about the money than the mission. This may the the starkest and highest-stakes example to date, and is playing out on front-pages instead of in backrooms.

Go deeper: Dissecting the customer acquisition costs of the latest unicorn IPOs

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.