WeWork raised $430 million in a new financing round led by Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital, a unit of Legend Holdings (HKG: 3396), whose founder and chairman is Liu Chuanzhi, the founder of Lenovo, the largest computer maker in the world. WeWork was reportedly valued in this round at $16 billion. In contrast, its well established competitor Regus PLC (LSE: RGU), which controls more than 40 million square feet of executive co-working office space and business centers globally, with revenue (ttm) of USD $2.59 billion and EBITDA (ttm) of USD $394.66 million, has a market capitalization of only USD $3.83 billion. Regus has a similar business model as WeWork, except that its office spaces, waiting areas, conference rooms and overall atmosphere have a more formal and traditional look and feel. Regus and its brands HQ and Regus Express provide serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms, and videoconferencing to its sub-tenants. Regus was founded in Belgium by CEO Mark Dixon in 1989, it has 6,500 employees and is now headquartered in Luxembourg. Regus operates in 106 countries with more than 3,000 business centers, making it the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace. The company is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, WeWork has raised $1.43 billion in seven rounds from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Fidelity Investments, T. Rowe Price, Wellington Management, Benchmark Capital, Aleph and others. “Today we are adding a new partner to the WeWork family through a new funding round led by Legend Holdings and Hony Capital. Both Legend and Hony, along with existing shareholders and new partners, are investing significant capital in our company,” said WeWork’s co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann. “Not only does WeWork have one of the largest addressable markets I have ever seen, but the quality of its execution and fit for the Chinese culture is unparalleled,” said Hony Capital CEO John Zhao. “Our investment in WeWork is both strategic and obvious.” WeWork is a platform for creators. It provides space, a community and services need to create your life’s work. The startup is now home to more than 40,000 members in 23 cities across the globe. WeWork’s business model is generally to rent space from landlords, turn it into a communal atmosphere and rent it out month-by-month at higher prices to companies and individuals. The workforce is largely young, and arcade games, plush couches and beer on tap are fixtures, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company has grown to 65 locations, mostly in major U.S. cities, with a handful in Europe and Israel, says the Journal, and it is rapidly adding locations in new cities throughout the U.S. and Europe. Its shareholders say the centers generate healthy profits once they are open and filled. Hony Capital is a Chinese private equity firm, owned by Legend Holdings. Legend Holdings provided Hony, a pioneer in China’s private equity industry, with its start-up capital. Hony reportedly has USD $7 billion of assets under management. The firm’score strategy is to invest in large state-owned enterprises and restructure them to increase profits. Hony also invests in overseas consumer brands in order to create value by expanding their presence in China.
Lenovo’s English name was originally Legend, in Chinese 联想 Lianxiang. Liu was recently characterized by The Economist as the “torch-bearer of Chinese capitalism.”Legend Holdings was founded in 1984 by its chairman Liu Chuanzhi and 10 other researchers with funding from the Computing Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Liu started the company with only RMB 200,000 in his early years. Later, the company started to manufacture computers bearing its own brand. Starting from the IT industry, Legend Holdings has grown of over three decades, becoming one of the largest diversified holding companies in China, with over 60,000 employees. In 2001, the company was split for business diversification purposes. Under the leadership of Liu Chuanzhi, Legend Holdings has become a conglomerate that covers both industrial and investment sectors, and has nurtured a number of outstanding enterprises. Lenovo, one of these enterprises, has become the world’s largest PC and second largest tablet computer manufacturer and a Fortune 500 company. In 2004, Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC business and expanded globally. In 2014, Lenovo became the third largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world. Legend Holdings is entering into the sectors of financial services, consumer services, agriculture and food, chemicals, and energy materials in an orderly way, endeavoring to nurture a group of leading enterprises to contribute to China’s economy. Legend Capital, Hony Capital and Legend Star have become leading brands in China’s investment sector. On June 29, 2015, Legend Holdings was listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.]]>