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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

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, is pictured outside the John Joseph Moakley United State Courthouse in Boston on March 25, 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden plan expected to include at least $500B for climate

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is privately telling lawmakers the climate portion of President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending plan is "mostly settled" and will likely cost more than $500 billion, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: A price tag of $500 billion to $555 billion is a huge number and, if it holds, would likely be the single biggest component of the sweeping package. It also isn't far off from the roughly $600 billion proposed when the bill was expected to cost $3.5 trillion.