Less than a year ago We Work was claiming a value of US$47 billion.
Very soon it should go belly-up.
It’s a fascinating story of gullibility and greed, characteristic events always present in the final days of ragingly excessive bull-markets.
Its founder, the charismatic Israeli Adam Neumann, sucked in the Japanese SoftBank fund, which like all such entities up until this year, had virtually unlimited cash and no-where to put it.
Even more amusing is that a principal funder of the US$100m SoftBank entity which poured zillions into the We Work absurdity, is the current clown prince of Saudi Arabia.
Neumann is allegedly hiding out in Israel with a few billion tucked away and given the Saudi Clown Prince’s form, doubtless, with a price on his head.
The proposition that the path to riches lies with a laptop and gathering with other like-minded naifs to drink and socialise together was always absurd.
All great fortunes start with an original idea, hard lonely graft in a garage or bedroom and considerable hardship.
The coming We Work crash will be blamed on the virus frightening off its customers. That’s true but it would have happened anyway as they came to their senses.
The legacy will be vast acres of empty office-space, notably in London and New York where the company was by a very long way the biggest lessee in both cities.
Fortunately We Work was late into New Zealand but apart from one Auckland developer who’s spent a fortune strengthening a Queen Street building for We Work, our office-market will go unscathed.
We can be assured many business journalists are currently awaiting the imminent demise so as to complete the final chapter in their We Work doubtless best-sellers which will hit the market this year.
I’m not normally a buyer of such books, however, these will be an exception.