After listening to a WeWork presentation in London last November, I suggested here that: “WeWork actually feels more like a gambler, with an unimaginably high pile of chips. Playing global space invaders against Regus and traditional landlords.”
That pile of chips is now dramatically reduced and the new management is desperately trying to conserve its diminishing stake in order to continue trading. Staff are being sacked and new deals put on hold. As rent-free periods expire, the pressure will only grow.
There is a case for arguing that if WeWork did vanish, rivals would simply slot into place and the space be rebranded. That may be so. But this scenario is contingent on demand remaining strong. The amount of space in the UK alone is enormous: WeWork has signed leases for close to 4m sq ft in more than 60 buildings in the UK. Many landlords have made contributions to fitting-out costs. Many leases are still in their rent-free periods.