WeWork founder Adam Neumann removed from Forbes’ billionaire list

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A WeWork office is seen in New York City. ( AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)
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Adam Neumann of WeWork. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2019

WeWork founder Adam Neumann removed from Forbes’ billionaire list

SAN FRANCISCO: Forbes on Thursday lopped more than $3 billion from its estimated net worth of WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann as the company faced skepticism regarding its future.
Earlier this year, Neumann was listed by Forbes as being among the richest people with an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion.
Forbes revised that figure to $600 million — by no means paltry but a big, quick plunge in wealth.
Neumann, whose unconventional approach to business and governance pushed boundaries on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, announced last month that he was stepping down as chief executive.
He exits the corner office as the company tries to reposition an initial public offering campaign that has sputtered.
Neumann, who will stay on as chairman, has faced questions over his perceived self-dealing, as well as the ability of his fast-growing company to become profitable.
His audacious approach to business won support from key investors, including the Japanese group SoftBank.
But his loose approach to corporate governance and conflicts of interest garnered scrutiny, as did a Wall Street Journal expose detailing drug and alcohol use and Neumann’s aspirations to become the world’s first trillionaire.
Known for his long hair and a wardrobe that favors T-shirts, Neumann, 40, is also recognized as a serial entrepreneur.
The New York-based startup that he launched in 2010 has touted itself as revolutionizing commercial real estate by offering shared, flexible workspace arrangements, and has operations in 111 cities in 29 countries.
However, the company, which lost $1.9 billion last year, has faced skepticism over its ability to make money, especially if the global economy slows significantly.
Architects of its plan for a stock market debut had scaled back the valuation target for the company from $47 billion to under $20 billion as they pushed back the timeframe.
The IPO is now unlikely to happen before the end of the year, according to a source, adding that at the earliest it could occur in 2020.


Automakers expect Trump will delay decision on imposing EU, Japan tariffs

Updated 59 min 58 sec ago

Automakers expect Trump will delay decision on imposing EU, Japan tariffs

  • Foreign companies are eager to highlight US investments to try to dissuade US president

Major automakers think US President Donald Trump will again this week push back a self-imposed deadline on whether to put up to 25 percent tariffs on national security grounds on imported cars and parts from the EU and Japan amid an ongoing trade war with China, five auto officials told Reuters.

The anticipated delay — expected to be announced later this week — comes as foreign automakers are eager to highlight US investments to try to dissuade Trump from using tariffs that they argue could cost US jobs.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this month tariffs may not be necessary. EU officials expect Trump to announce a six-month delay when he faces a self-imposed deadline this week. Trump in May delayed a decision on tariffs by up to 180 days as he ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations.

Lighthizer’s office recently asked many foreign automakers to provide a tally of investments they have made in the US, several auto industry officials told Reuters.

The White House and Lighthizer’s office declined to comment.

FASTFACTS

• US is considering 25 percent tariffs on national security grounds on imported cars and parts from the EU and Japan.

• President Donald Trump in May delayed a decision on tariffs by up to 180 days as he ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to pursue negotiations.

On Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican ally of Trump’s, plans to attend a groundbreaking at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga assembly plant where they will mark the beginning of an $800 million expansion to build electric vehicles and add 1,000 jobs. The high-profile event will also include remarks from Germany’s ambassador to the US.

VW announced the plan to begin producing EVs by 2022 in Tennessee in January.

Daimler AG said in late 2017 it planned to invest $1 billion to expand its manufacturing footprint around Tuscaloosa, Alabama, creating more than 600 jobs. Tariffs on Japan seem even less likely than the EU, experts say.

Japanese automakers and suppliers have announced billions of dollars in investments, most notably a $1.6 billion joint venture plant in Alabama by Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a limited trade deal in September cutting tariffs on US farm goods, Japanese machine tools and other products.

Although the agreement does not cover trade in autos, Abe said in September he had received reassurance from Trump that the US would not impose auto tariffs on national security grounds. Lighthizer said the two countries would tackle cars in negotiations expected to start next April.

Stefan Mair, member of the executive board of the BDI German industry association, said a deal to permanently remove the threat of tariffs was needed. “The investments that are not being made are costing us the growth of tomorrow, even in sectors that are seemingly not affected,” he said.

Germany’s merchandise trade surplus with the US — $69 billion in 2018 — remains a sore point with the Trump administration as does Japan’s $67.6 billion
US trade surplus last year — with two-thirds of that in the auto sector.