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22 years after Amazon's dream IPO, startups shun public listings

Flood of venture capital allows tech companies to avoid scrutiny of markets

WeWork raised far more money than Amazon before attempting to go public, but now it finds itself in trouble.

TOKYO -- Private tech companies are increasingly shunning the traditional use of public listings as a springboard to growth, as a glut of venture capital gives them ready access to funding without the scrutiny and regulatory restrictions required by equity markets.

We Co., parent of office-sharing startup WeWork, was valued as high as $47 billion early this year before it filed for an initial public offering in August -- 485 times the valuation in its initial venture capital funding round in 2012. But investors were skeptical about its prospects for growth beyond this level, dampening demand for the shares and slashing its likely post-IPO valuation. The company ended up withdrawing its filing last month.

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