Goldman Sachs has so far lost $80m on its investment in WeWork, the troubled office rentals group, the bank said on Tuesday. The loss contributed to a 26% drop in profits from a year ago.
The valuation of its stake in WeWork fell after We, as the company is known, was forced to pull plans for an initial public offering that would have been led by Goldman and JP Morgan.
Goldman initially declined to break out its losses on WeWork, but on a conference call with analysts, Stephen Scherr, the chief financial officer, said Goldman had decided to make the loss public because it had “got quite a bit of notoriety in the press”.
Scherr said the value of its holding – now $70m – could still fall further. But the loss was smaller than some analysts had predicted and Scherr said Goldman could still make money on its investment.
Once the world’s US’s most highly valued private company, WeWork is now facing a cash crunch as it burns through its remaining money. The company is weighing plans to fire 2,000 people, 13% of WeWork’s 15,000 staff.
Had the company successfully launched its share sale, Goldman and JPMorgan were preparing loans worth $6bn. JP Morgan and Softbank, the Japanese investment firm that is WeWork’s largest backer, are now working on alternative financing options.
WeWork’s share sale ran into trouble when it released its sale prospectus to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors balked at its huge losses and a corporate structure that left the controversial co-founder Adam Neumann with control of the company.
WeWork’s share sale was set to follow other less-than-well-received share sales from once highly valued tech firms, including Uber and Lyft. The declining value of Goldman’s stake in Uber and other companies also hit its results.
On the conference call Scherr said: “Recent market reception to certain companies has been less favorable.”
Goldman’s losses in other publicly traded companies were far larger than its WeWork loss. The bank reported it had taken losses of $267m in the third quarter for “investments in public equities, primarily from investments in Uber, Avantor and Tradeweb”. The losses also included Goldman’s stake in WeWork.
Goldman’s profits for the third quarter were $1.88bn, down 26% from the same time last year and below analysts’ expectations. Revenue fell 6% to $8.32bn, slightly above the $8.31bn expected. The firm also announced it had set aside $291m for credit losses in the quarter, 67% higher than a year earlier.
Shares fell 3% on the news.