Did a Jewish holiday kill the WeWork IPO?

WeWork postponed its IPO for many reasons -- including a scheduling conflict with Rosh Hashanah.


September 18, 2019

WeWork’s parent company, the We Company, has postponed its IPO — which was expected next week — until October or later.

There are a number of reasons for the delay: After losing $1.37B in the first half of the year and coming under fire for shady corporate governance, the company has struggled to convince investors it’s really worth its $47B private valuation.

But the most immediate reason for WeWork’s postponement is also perhaps the most interesting: Rosh Hashanah.

Wait, what?

That’s right — an inconveniently timed holiday can kill an IPO.

As of last weekend, WeWork was set to begin its roadshow on Monday of this week. But minor internal disagreements prevented the company from starting its roadshow on Monday — and by Tuesday it was too late.

Why? Because if WeWork starts its roadshow now, it will conflict with Rosh Hashanah (which begins Sept. 29), and, as Axios’ Dan Primack notes, “It’s generally considered disrespectful to roadshow during the Jewish high holidays.”

Then, a week after Rosh Hashanah, it’s Yom Kippur — another IPO no-go.

You see, a good IPO is all about the roadshow…

And a good roadshow is all about timing. 

In WeWork’s case, the company chose to postpone its IPO rather than risk a botched roadshow. 

Why is the roadshow so important? Because it’s a company’s biggest chance to advertise itself to investors before hitting the big leagues. 

Roadshows are intense — and often several weeks long, hence the Rosh Hashanah conflict. And they’re extra important for embattled businesses like WeWork that still have something to prove to investors. 

WeWork’s wacky IPO may be a warning

WeWork, which was once valued at $47B, has slipped to an estimated valuation of between $10B and $12B. 

Earlier this year, the company secured a $6B credit line from big banks to keep the lights on. But a condition of that credit required WeWork to go public this year — and raise at least $3B in the process. 

Based on the company’s most recent valuations, though, it wouldn’t have raised the necessary $3B — which could send WeWork spiraling even further downward. 

So next time you take your multibillion-dollar company public, make sure to get your ducks in a row — and check your calendar for Jewish holidays.

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