Startup which rents desk space gets $20-billion valuation

WeWork Cos. raised $760 million in a funding round that places the co-working business among the world’s five most-valuable technology startups.

The New York-based company, which rents desk space to freelancers and businesses, is valued at about $20 billion after the investment, said a person familiar with the matter. The valuation matches that of Peter Thiel’s Palantir Technologies Inc., which will now share the distinction of fifth-most-valuable privately held startup with WeWork, according to research firm CB Insights.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. had initially planned to participate in WeWork’s financing round at a valuation of more than $17 billion, Bloomberg reported in March. Since then, investors agreed to increase the share price to $57.90 from $51.81, said researcher PitchBook Data Inc. WeWork and SoftBank declined to comment.

With the $300 million SoftBank committed early this year, the total size of the round is about $1 billion, said the person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. The deal was reported earlier this week by Forbes.

WeWork is looking to continue its rapid pace of global expansion. Bloomberg reported this week that the company is in talks with Japanese real-estate firms, including Mitsubishi Estate Co., to open as many as 20 new office spaces in SoftBank’s hometown of Tokyo. The proposal would make Tokyo WeWork’s biggest operation in Asia.

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Startup which rents desk space gets $20-billion valuation