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Office-sharing startup WeWork files for stock market listing

San Francisco

WEWORK, the fast-growing office-sharing startup, said on Monday it had filed documents for a stock market listing to help fuel further expansion.

The New York-based firm valued at some US$47 billion by private investors and operating in some 600 cities worldwide, said it filed its registration confidentially last December with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

The confidential filing allows the company to begin the listing process before divulging key financial and business information.

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"This process will enable WeWork to make the decision to become publicly traded, subject to market and other conditions," WeWork said in a statement.

WeWork has taken the lead in the co-working space and in the process is disrupting the office and real estate market with smartly designed offices, often with free-flowing beer and coffee.

Started in 2010, WeWork has hundreds of thousands of customers from individual entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies needing temporary or permanent office space.

The monthly deals can be particularly attractive to independent workers who do not want to make a long-term commitment.

But WeWork also rents to employees of large firms such as IBM where regional offices are less convenient.

In January, Japanese tech giant SoftBank invested some US$2 billion in the company as it rebranded itself as "The We Company".

WeWork offered no details on how much money it would seek to raise, its valuation or the timing of its offering.

But the news comes amid a wave of listings from Silicon Valley "unicorns", or startups worth at least US$1 billion, including Lyft, Pinterest, Slack and Uber.

In 2017, WeWork agreed to buy the Lord & Taylor flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in a sign of the disruption of the real estate market.

Separately, it was announced in Singapore on Tuesday that WeWork will open its second WeWork Labs location at 380 Jalan Besar in May.

WeWork has also been recognised as a Startup SG Founder Accredited Mentor Partner (AMP) by government agency Enterprise Singapore.

The Startup SG Founder scheme provides mentorship and startup capital grant to first-time entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas, with ESG providing up to S$30,000 by matching S$3 for every dollar raised.

Industry leaders as appointed AMPs identify qualifying applicants based on the uniqueness of business concept, feasibility of business model, strength of management team, and potential market value. AFP