Investors who think WeWork will be worth $47 billion are 'taking a real leap of faith': expert

WeWork is planning its public debut in September. The company, which filed its IPO paperwork in December 2018, was valued at $47 billion in January.

And one expert is baffled by that valuation.

“I just don't see how they're going to grow into the $47 billion valuation — 20 times more than the multiple of its peers are getting,” EquityZen CEO Atish Davda told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move. ”I think investors who are excited about investing in WeWork at this valuation are the folks that 100 years ago put themselves in a barrel and went over Niagara Falls — I mean, they are taking a real leap of faith here.”

WeWork’s valuation is mainly due to its biggest backer — SoftBank. The Japanese company poured an additional $2 billion into WeWork in January, bringing its total investment in the company to over $10 billion.

The co-working space provider has emerged as one of the most valuable private companies in the country. It had more than 250,000 paying members last year, which was double the figure from the previous year. WeWork also announced that it is leasing large offices to companies that include Amazon (AMZN), Pepsi (PEP), and Salesforce (CRM).

The skepticism around the massive valuation comes from the company’s mounting losses. WeWork loses $219,000 every hour of every day, according to the Financial Times. The company reported a $1.9 billion loss last year and has already lost over $700 million in just the first quarter of 2019.

“I think you know, the real question is, are the investors and the employees that got options and equity in this company are going to do OK? Or is it just going to be the founders?” Davda said. “I’m skeptical and I think the company will have a tough time in September.”

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