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SoftBank Invests $300 Million in WeWork

The WeWork deal is a controversial one within SoftBank, according to people familiar with the deliberations. The firm valued WeWork at about the same $17 billion valuation from last fall, and some SoftBank executives had argued that price was already too high. SoftBank twice passed on two prior investments in WeWork at lower valuations, according to executives briefed on those deals.

WeWork is also an unexpected investment for a tech-focused investment fund. WeWork signs long-term leases with landlords, then creates hip, young-feeling glassy offices that typically surround a lounge-like common space and are rented to companies on short-term leases.

A large chunk of its tenants are startups or larger companies looking to do business with startups, so WeWork’s fortunes are heavily linked with the strength of the tech sector.

With an expanding global presence and a dizzying 37 locations in New York alone, WeWork is making a strong case for the viability of shared workspaces and the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in contexts beyond the makerspace. SoftBank appears to agree, and is apparently poised to invest up to $3 billion in total.

Check out this quick overview for a peek behind WeWork’s $17 billion valuation.