What WeWork Looks For in its Acquisitions

Shared office space company WeWork is on an acquisition spree.

The privately-held company recently announced the purchase of Lord & Taylor's flagship retail store in New York, planning to convert it into its new headquarters. But the $21 billion start-up has also made deals in other areas. In June it bought construction site communications company Fieldlens, and it acquired digital sign-in firm Welkio last year.

Emily Keeton, the company's global head of mergers and acquisitions, talked to Cheddar about its strategy.

"We are a company that starts with culture and values, so we really think that it’s all about the people at a very serious level," she said. "We look at the products and services they're providing, we look at the business model, and we look at the market opportunity."

The companies acquired by WeWork may operate in different sectors, but they all contribute to its main goals, including geographic expansion and technology acquisition.

“When you come to WeWork we want to make sure that you have all kinds of services and exciting things going on around you,” Keeton said. She adds that partnerships are also a reflection of company values.

For example, WeWork recently announced a new partnership with Bunker Labs’ “Veterans in Residence,” an effort to expand its commitment to hiring 1,500 veterans in the next five years.

In the United States the co-working space sector is a rapidly growing industry. Real estate firm JLL says that since 2014, shared space providers have leased more than 3.7 million square feet in large office areas. While the sector only accounts for less than 0.1 percent of the total office space right now, JLL says demand is “unprecedented.”

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