August 25, 2017 12:36 pm JST

SoftBank to pour fresh $3bn into office-share leader WeWork

Joint venture will tap into Japan's shared workspace market

HIROKO NISHIMURA, Nikkei staff writer

WeWork's New York office. The startup is ready to make a push into Asia.

NEW YORK -- American office-sharing company WeWork said on Thursday that Japan's SoftBank Group will invest an additional $3 billion in the privately held company.

SoftBank Vice Chairman Ronald Fisher and External Director Mark Schwartz will join WeWork's board.

SoftBank decided to invest $1.4 billion in WeWork earlier this year. Last month, the two companies announced they will set up a joint venture in Japan to enter the office-sharing market.

The latest deal will increase SoftBank's investment in the company to some $4.4 billion. Part of the investment will be covered by the SoftBank Vision Fund, which the the group formed with the government of Saudi Arabia and others.

It is not known how much of the investment will be covered by the fund.

SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son has described WeWork as a company that has built a platform for shared workspaces catering to all types of creators, from young entrepreneurs to large multinationals.

WeWork offers its members ready-for-use offices on short-term contracts. In the U.S., it has been popular primarily among startups and freelance workers. Major companies are also increasingly using the service.

Established in 2010 in New York, WeWork has become a pioneer of shared workspaces in the U.S. It now has offices in 50 cities spanning 16 countries, with 150,000 individual and corporate members.

SoftBank Group Corp.

Japan

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