A man walks past the logo of WeWork in Tokyo
The documents show that WeWork’s global occupancy rates fell to 47% at the end of 2020 from 72% at the start of the year, before the pandemic hit © AFP via Getty Images

WeWork lost $3.2bn last year as Covid-19 shut its co-working spaces worldwide, the office provider has revealed in a pitch for $1bn in new investment and a stock market listing.

Documents reviewed by the Financial Times and shown to prospective investors described losses that narrowed from $3.5bn in 2019, as the company slashed capital expenditure from $2.2bn to $49m.

The “Project Windmill” documents revealed that WeWork was aiming to go public at a valuation of $9bn, including debt, through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.

The office provider is in talks with BowX Acquisition Corp, a “blank cheque” company that raised $420m in August, according to the documents and people familiar with the matter. The two are aiming to line up institutional investors to secure the rest of the $1bn sought by WeWork. (FT)

Coronavirus digest

  • AstraZeneca might have included outdated information from a clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine it has developed with Oxford university, a US federal health agency said on Tuesday.

  • Among the world’s wealthy nations, America is virtually alone in not providing direct payments for the majority of its children. From July that will change as the US embarks on its first national child allowance experiment.

  • Disputes over vaccine safety and exports have left Brexiters feeling vindicated and Europhiles bemused. The FT View is that talks are needed between the EU, UK and AstraZeneca on a compromise.

  • Here’s a look at the UK economy one year on from the first lockdown.

  • Vladimir Putin said he would be vaccinated with the Sputnik V jab on Tuesday.

  • The amount of euro banknotes in circulation rose €156bn over the past year despite cash falling as a share of daily transactions. The 12.2 per cent jump mainly stemmed from households hoarding more cash.

  • Got your jab? You could get free Krispy Kreme doughnuts — just one example of how marketers are planning giveaways for vaccine recipients. (FT, WSJ)

Children of colour are more likely than white children to experience poverty in the US

Some employers are using Covid-19 as an excuse to bring back younger workers from furlough faster than older ones, writes Patti Waldmeir. Follow our live blog for the latest.

In the news

Biden advisers draw up plans for $3tn in new spending Joe Biden is set to consider a plan from his top advisers to plough roughly $3tn in government spending into the US economy with investments in infrastructure, clean energy and education, two people familiar with the matter said on Monday. (FT)

BlackRock begins internal review into discrimination claims The world’s biggest asset manager has hired the Wall Street law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an internal review into reports of “employee misconduct” after the FT and other publications detailed allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment. (FT)

Picture of Essma Bengabsia, a Muslim-American former BlackRock employee
Essma Bengabsia, a Muslim-American former BlackRock employee, said her job at the asset manager had been ‘completely destroying’ her © Pascal Perich/FT

Solomon commits to Saturdays off for Goldman Sachs bankers David Solomon, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, has committed to enforcing a Saturdays off rule, forbidding junior investment banking analysts from working from Friday at 9pm until Sunday morning in response to complaints. (FT)

US, EU, UK and Canada impose China sanctions Travel bans and asset freezes have been imposed on four officials and a security organisation over the persecution and mass internment of Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region. The move sparked immediate retaliation from Beijing. (FT)

US officials visit Mexico and Guatemala to discuss migration Top US officials will visit Mexico and Guatemala this week as the Biden administration battles a growing political crisis over the rising number of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the southern border. (FT)

Saudi Arabia proposes Yemen ceasefire deal Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, proposed a deal to end the six-year conflict in Yemen that would include Riyadh lifting its blockade on rebel-controlled ports. Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have recently stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities and oil infrastructure. (FT)

Licensing deals put brakes on HBO Max rollout in Europe WarnerMedia will launch its HBO Max streaming service in Europe this year but it is still wrestling with lucrative licensing deals. Jason Kilar, the media group’s chief executive, said it could not bring the streaming service to the UK, Germany or Italy because some content is licensed exclusively through Sky until at least 2025. (FT)

The day ahead

Yellen and Powell give testimony US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell begin two days of testimony in Washington today. Stock markets in Europe were lower ahead of the start of their testimony. (FT)

Nato meeting The military alliance’s foreign ministers will attend the first of two days of meetings in Brussels today. Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, is expected to relaunch the US-EU China dialogue. (FT)

Companies Intel’s chief executive Pat Gelsinger lays out his vision for the US chip giant for the first time since taking over in January. Gamestop, the video games retailer at the centre of this year’s day-trader frenzy, reports results today. (FT)

Israel elections Israel goes to the polls in its fourth general election in two years, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoping an ambitious vaccination drive will help him secure a record sixth term despite a corruption trial. (FT)

A women walks near posters supporting Israeli prime minister and leader of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel
Israeli prime minister and leader of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to win a record sixth term © ABIR SULTAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

What else we’re reading

Andrés Manuel López Obrador takes Mexico back to the future Mexico’s president is the top exponent of what one analyst calls “ideological necrophilia” — a passionate attraction to ideas and ideologies which have been tried and tested, and failed, an infinite number of times. Despite this and one of the highest Covid-19 death rates in the world, his poll ratings remain high and he is hoping to tighten his grip on the country in June’s midterm elections. (FT)

Picture of Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Andrés Manuel López Obrador has brushed off criticism of his poor handling of the economy, security and coronavirus 

Sometimes sleeping on the job should be paid too Is it possible to be “at work” while asleep in bed? What if you are behind the wheel of an empty Uber waiting to be assigned a passenger? How do we define “work”, and ensure people are paid fairly, when the boundaries of the workplace and workday are dissolving, asks Sarah O’Connor.

Military knowhow can help business navigate a hostile world Understanding how countries jockey for power by using the private sector as a proxy requires specialist skills and generals can fill this need, writes Elisabeth Braw, as executives turn to retired brass. (FT)

Who is Turkey’s new central banker? If Turkey’s biggest economic challenges are chronic inflation and a plunging lira, Sahap Kavcioglu, a little-known banking professor, has unorthodox ideas on tackling them. The firing of his predecessor has shaken investor confidence and made a difficult economic situation almost untenable, writes Timothy Ash. (FT)

Line chart of Foreign ownership of Turkish local currency government bonds (%) showing Turkey's appeal to financial market investors has faded

Can the online at-home fitness boom last? Working out from home has been popular for decades but the pandemic has accelerated the proliferation of fancy at-home gyms. Industry observers say the likes of Pelaton, Hydrow and Mirror are here to stay. “I’m not saying people will never go back to gyms — they will — but the pendulum is never going to swing all the way back,” says one investor. (FT)

Podcast of the day

What happened next: Pay off the credit card or buy a house? When Claer and US financial services worker Josh last spoke he was hiding thousands of dollars in credit card debt from his wife. Under lockdown, the couple had managed to save up enough money to pay them off but she wanted to use this cash for a deposit on their first home. Six months later, has he paid off his debt and cut up his cards, did he buy a property, and are he and his wife still talking openly about money? Listen to the latest episode of the Money Clinic podcast. (FT)

Thank you for reading. Send your recommendations and feedback to firstft@ft.com

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