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JP Morgan is at risk of losing on its WeWork bet, a blow to CEO Dimon

Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., speaks during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019.

Tiffany Hagler-Geard | Bloomberg | Getty Images

WeWork but WeDon’tGetPaid.

That’s the grim reality J.P. Morgan Chase bankers are facing now that WeWork is close to accepting a deal to sell control of the office-sharing company to SoftBank in a debt and equity package.

J.P. Morgan is WeWork’s third-largest external shareholder, behind SoftBank and Benchmark. The bank would have been the so-called “lead left” adviser on WeWork’s IPO and lead financer on an associated $6 billion credit facility, two roles that would have brought in millions in fees.

Instead, the bank will collect nothing for months of work, along with potential hefty losses on its exiting equity and debt investments.

In the three weeks since WeWork withdrew its IPO filing, J.P. Morgan has been trying to secure alternative financing to save WeWork, which was set to run out of cash by mid-November CNBC reported last week. The bank has held talks with more than 100 investors to try and pull together a $5 billion debt package — an alternative to SoftBank’s bailout plan.

J.P. Morgan has raised the money but won’t overvalue the company by putting in more equity, according to a person familiar with the matter. The bank also refused to add in a tender offer to its bailout package that would give co-founder and ex-CEO Adam Neumann a path to sell more shares, said the person, who asked not to be named because the plan is confidential. Additionally, SoftBank is paying hundreds of millions to Neumann to leave the board of directors, give up his voting shares and support SoftBank’s takeover, according to Axios — something J.P. Morgan was also unwilling to do, the person said.

CNBC’s David Faber first reported earlier Monday that WeWork is planning on rejecting J.P. Morgan’s financing plan in favor of SoftBank’s, which combines debt and equity. SoftBank is planning on investing between $1 billion and $3 billion in a tender offer, in addition to accelerating a $1.5 billion equity infusion and $5 billion in debt financing, with other syndicates, people familiar with the matter said.

WeWork’s board is likely to meet on Tuesday to finalize details about selling control of the company to SoftBank, said the people, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private.

If the board approves the plan and leaves J.P. Morgan in the cold, it will be a major blow to CEO Jamie Dimon, who was working personally with Neumann on trying to get the company into the public markets. Dimon has made a point of breaking up the Goldman SachsMorgan Stanley tech IPO duopoly and has touted his bank’s recent success.

“We’ve made huge progress in Silicon Valley,” Dimon said at a roundtable discussion in Silicon Valley last year.

WATCH: SoftBank deal for WeWork sounds pretty reasonable under circumstances: Pro


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