- WeWork’s IPO filing confused an analyst who specializes in valuing private companies that are preparing to go public.
- Rett Wallace, the chief executive officer of Triton Research, told Bloomberg that WeWork’s prospectus is a “master of obfuscation.”
- Wallace also said the filing doesn’t include enough financial data to create an accurate model for the company.
- Visit the Markets Insider homepage for more stories.
WeWork’s released its highly-anticipated IPO prospectus last week. The numbers behind the office-management company puzzled an analyst that specializing in valuing private companies aiming to go public.
Rett Wallace, the chief executive officer of Triton Research, told Bloomberg that WeWork’s filing doesn’t include enough financial information to build an accurate model for its business.
“The prospectus is a masterpiece of obfuscation,” Wallace told Bloomberg in an interview. “If the underlying facts were positive, why would a company go to so much trouble to prevent you from understanding them?”
WeWork bleeds massive amounts of cash – $1.3 billion in the first-half of 2019 alone – and the economics of its business have been under a microscope since its prospectus was released.
Triton uses what it calls an “obfuscation index” to assess technology IPOs. In past, the firm has used the rating to help forecast the success of tech IPOs, and since January 2018, companies with above-average score have soared 92% from their offering prices, Bloomberg reported.
Triton found high-levels of obfuscation in WeWork’s filing, according to Bloomberg. Triton pointed out how the company stops recording marketing and sales expenses at WeWork locations once they’ve been open for two years even though the expenses don’t actually stop.
Wallace also told Bloomberg that the shortage of information in the filing is even more glaring when its compared to IPO documents from other companies.
Here are some other WeWork stories from the team this week:
- WeWork is the most valuable startup to head for the public markets since Uber earlier this year. But as it does so, it’s facing some big questions that could dampen investors’ enthusiasm for its shares and dog its stock. Here are the five biggest questions facing WeWork as it prepares for its IPO.
- WeWork’s S-1 shows how big the company thinks it can get and gives a sense of the high costs of getting there. In the filing, WeWork lays out a path to profitability, but most of its options involve slowing its breakneck growth.
- WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has been criticized for perceived conflicts of interest between his investments and WeWork. Now prospective investors are getting a closer look at Neumann’s web of loans, real-estate deals, and family involvement with the company.