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    要避免重蹈Uber覆轍,WeWork 在IPO前必須做三件事

    Anne Sraders 2019年07月15日

    又一家燒錢的公司打算上市了,WeWork需要做好三件事。

    《華爾街日報》于上周一報道,共享辦公巨頭The We Company(以前的WeWork)打算在今年晚些時候上市,而且剛剛宣布了發債40億美元的計劃。

    本次發債有兩個作用——滿足當前現金流需求,同時緩解IPO本身面臨的巨大壓力。報道指出,實際上,發債所籌資金有可能超過今后幾年WeWork在股市上的融資額,從而向潛在股票投資者表明這家公司還有一條油水較少的途徑來獲得資金。

    這次債券發行將由高盛和摩根大通(可能還有其他公司)安排,而目前WeWork處于現金流失狀態。2018年這家辦公場地經營公司實現收入18億美元,和Uber披露的收入水平相當,資金消耗卻達到了19億美元。

    這讓部分潛在投資者暫緩了投資腳步,因為Uber和Lyft上市首日不那么精彩的表現依然歷歷在目。這兩家拼車服務商都在嚴重虧損的情況下上市,其股價也都持續大幅波動,因為它們都沒能讓投資者相信自己有清晰的盈利途徑。因此,如果想有所突破,WeWork就需要做下面三件事,以免重蹈覆轍。

    更為精細

    證券經紀公司D.A. Davidson的高級副總裁、高級研究分析師湯姆·懷特告訴《財富》雜志:“我覺得WeWork一定可以而且應該從Uber和Lyft提交的文件中學到些東西。”

    懷特認為,WeWork需要強調自己有清晰的前進道路,以便投資者對這家燒錢的公司抱有信心,特別是在目前將要發債的情況下。

    懷特說:“對這些規模龐大、沒有利潤但能夠在多方面帶來變革的公司而言,Uber和Lyft IPO的重大教訓就是WeWork需要提供更詳細和精致的路線圖,說明自己打算怎樣逐步扭虧為盈。”他建議WeWork深入探討其市場的單位經濟性并進行同期群分析,以便投資者更好地了解自己的潛在投資對象。

    別的分析師也有同樣的看法。

    機構研究服務商、IPO ETF管理公司復興資本(Renaissance Capital)的負責人凱瑟琳·史密斯認為“Wework必須”確保投資者了解其盈利模式。她的建議是不要像Uber和Lyft那樣。

    Manhattan Venture Partners的研究主管桑托什·拉奧相信,回顧市場接納Lyft和Uber的過程對WeWok來說大有裨益,“我想,可以這么說,他們已經看見了那些不祥之兆。”

    拉奧說,WeWork的模式基本以短期租賃為主,但它已經開始通過購買寫字樓和全球擴張來現實多元化。同時,隨著負債的增長(WeWork去年已經舉債約7.02億美元,而且利率高達7.9%),涉足企業租賃和長期出租業務將為該公司帶來持續性收入,而這可以吸引債券持有人。

    同時,分析師認為WeWork應該從已經上市的那些公司身上汲取的第二個教訓是當心自己的估值。

    恰當定價

    WeWork的估算市值為470億美元,對投資者而言這是很高的要價。投資咨詢公司Scenic Advisement的董事總經理兼首席投資官簡·梁認為市場已經有了疑問。

    梁說:“我覺得投資者對這些估值極高的公司真的很小心,而且他們應當如此。”她認為WeWork需要做到透明,以便“投資者不那么擔心”這家公司必然會步Uber和Lyft后塵。

    這兩家拼車服務公司的股價一直低于它們較高的首發價。梁指出,剛剛嶄露頭角時的炒作可能把它們IPO前的估值提升到了“過高”水平。復興資本的負責人史密斯則認為,由于燒錢快,再加上又要發債,WeWork的估值將受到影響。

    史密斯說:“問題在于,他們必須定價合適。他們得有一定幅度的折價,這樣投資者才不會那么擔心它跌破發行價。”

    那么怎樣的價格才合適呢?

    梁表示,在她看來,WeWork的股價或許更接近其二級市場價值,這個數字約為目前470億美元估值的一半。

    多元化

    雖然拉奧認為當前IPO環境下投資者可能喜歡WeWork這樣的公司,但他堅持表示WeWork的業務模式“有風險”。

    WeWork所在的行業本質上高度依賴整體經濟——拉奧相信,如果出現下行周期,空置率的變化、公司擴張和經濟增長都可能給“他們的業績帶來壓力”。

    長期以來WeWork的經營模式一直是長期租下辦公場地,再把它們短租出去。實際情況表明,在市場格局不斷變化的情況下,這種策略很受歡迎。但拉奧認為,WeWork需要在收入多元化方面投入更多資金,途徑是開發出更多長期收入來源,比如收購更多寫字樓,甚至是出租給醫院或學校等更傳統的用戶。

    不過,WeWork的會員(使用WeWork設備的租戶)已經增至40.1萬,約占該公司收入的88%,對其服務的需求顯然非常旺盛。

    但IPO前,這家公司需要讓投資者看到它的長期發展規劃,然后再由投資者來判斷WeWork是否真的行之有效。(財富中文網)

    譯者:Charlie

    審校:夏林

    Mega office-space rental company The We Company (formerly WeWork) is planning an IPO later this year, and just announced a plan to raise $4 billion in debt in the meantime, the Wall Street Journal reported last Monday.

    The debt issue serves two functions: To meet immediate cash flow needs, and also to take substantial pressure off the IPO itself. In fact, according to the report, the debt deal could allow WeWork to raise more money than their public debut could over the coming years, and prove to potential stock investors that the company has another, leaner way to access capital.

    But the debt offering, which will be structured by Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase (potentially among others), comes at a time when WeWork is bleeding cash. The office-space manager burned $1.9 billion on $1.8 billion revenue in 2018—even more than Uber’s reported $1.8 billion for last year.

    That’s given some potential investors pause, as the memories of Uber and Lyft’s less-than-stellar debuts are still fresh. The ridesharing companies both went public with heavy losses, and both stocks have been volatile as neither have convinced investors they have a clear path to profitability. So if WeWork is to break the mold, here are the three things the company needs to do to avoid a similar fate.

    Get granular

    “I think there are definitely some learnings that WeWork could and should take from the Uber and Lyft filings,” Tom White, senior vice president and senior research analyst at D.A. Davidson, told Fortune.

    For White, WeWork needs to emphasize a clear-cut path forward for investors to have confidence in the cash burning company—especially now that debt will be added to their balance sheet.

    “The big lessons from the Uber and Lyft IPOs for these very large, unprofitable but transformational companies in many ways is that WeWork needs to provide a more detailed and granular roadmap about how it plans to achieve profitability over time, ” White says. He suggests WeWork provide an in-depth view on the unit economics and cohort analysis of their markets to help give investors a better picture of what they’re getting themselves into.

    And White isn’t alone.

    Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital, a provider of institutional research and manager of IPO ETFs, thinks it will be “incumbent upon WeWork” to ensure investors understand their profit model—unlike Lyft or Uber did, Smith suggests.

    This preview of how the market received Lyft and Uber is a major benefit for the workspace company, Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, believes. “I think they’ve seen the writing on the wall, so to speak, ” Rao says.

    WeWork’s model largely focuses on short-term leases, but the company is beginning to diversify by looking to buy buildings and expand globally, Rao says. And as the company takes on more debt (WeWork already has some $702 million raised last year with a hefty 7.9% interest rate), moving into enterprise renting and long-term leases would provide WeWork with the recurring revenue that is attractive to bond holders, Rao says.

    But analysts suggest WeWork’s second lesson from those that came before it should be to watch the valuation.

    Price appropriately

    With an estimated valuation of $47 billion heading to market, WeWork is asking a lot from investors. And to Jane Leung, the managing director and chief investment officer at Scenic Advisement, the market is already skeptical.

    “I think investors are really careful around these companies with extremely lofty valuations, and they should be, ” Leung says. She believes WeWork needs to be transparent in order to "alleviate investors’ fear" that the company is doomed to follow in Uber and Lyft’s footsteps.

    Both ridesharing stocks have since traded below their high IPO prices, and Leung says the hype surrounding the stocks when they first debuted may have pushed their pre-IPO valuations to “lofty” heights. With a high burn rate and now new debt, Renaissance Capital’s Smith thinks WeWork’s valuation will be affected.

    “The issue is, they’ve got to be priced right, ” Smith said. “They’ve got to come at some significant discount for investors to not be so worried that they’ll break the IPO price.”

    But what’s the right price?

    From what she’s seen, Leung thinks the stock might trade closer to its value in the secondary markets—which, she says, is about half their current $47 billion valuation.

    Diversify

    But while Rao suggests investors in the current IPO climate have an appetite for companies like WeWork, he maintains the company’s business model “is kind of risky.”

    By nature, WeWork’s industry is heavily dependent on the overall economic market—shifts in vacancy rates, company expansion and economic growth could all put a “strain on their financials” if there is a downturn, Rao believes.

    WeWork’s model has long been to take on long-term leases and lease them out short-term—a strategy that has proven popular in the shifting workplace landscape. But Rao believes the company will need to invest more in diversifying their revenue streams by developing more long-term revenue sources—such as buying more buildings and even leasing to hospitals or schools with more traditional leases, he says.

    Still, with an increase in members (those using WeWork’s facilities) to 401,000 accounting for some 88% of their revenue, it’s clear the demand for their services is very much alive.

    But before an IPO, WeWork needs a plan for investors to see the long-term play—then it will be up to investors to see if WeWork actually works.

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