WeWork South Africa not affected by SoftBank’s bankruptcy filing

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The company, which operates WeWork South Africa, says it will not be affected by the bankruptcy filing by SoftBank’s WeWork in the United States and Canada.

In a statement SiSebenza says, WeWork South Africa is 100% independently owned by the company and operates independently from WeWork in the US and Canada.

SiSebenza says, “As an independent entity, we are not part of this strategic reorganisation process and there will be no impact on our members, vendors, employees, and real estate partners.”

WeWork, the SoftBank Group-backed startup whose meteoric rise and fall reshaped the office sector globally, sought US bankruptcy protection on Monday, after its bets on companies using more of its office-sharing space soured.

The move represents an admission by SoftBank, the Japanese technology group that owns about 60% of WeWork and has invested billions of dollars in its turnaround, that the company cannot survive unless it renegotiates its pricey leases in bankruptcy.

Profitability has remained elusive as WeWork grapples with its expensive leases and corporate clients cancelling because some employees work from home. Paying for space consumed 74% of WeWork’s revenue in the second quarter of 2023.

The company reported estimated assets and liabilities ranging from $10 billion to $50 billion, according to a bankruptcy filing.

“WeWork could use provisions of the US bankruptcy code to rid itself of onerous leases,” law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP said in a note to landlords on its website in August. Some landlords are bracing for a significant impact.

SiSebenza says it will continue to provide the service and experience its members have come to expect, adding that the local South African team is focused on expanding the WeWork brand into Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, and growing its presence in South Africa.

Additional Reporting: Reuters