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SoftBank plows more than $4 billion into commercial real estate start-up WeWork

  • WeWork raised $4.4 billion in growth funding from SoftBank.
  • The money will go toward fueling the growth of WeWork's rental office empire, especially in China.
Adam Neumann, co-founder and chief executive officer of WeWork.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Adam Neumann, co-founder and chief executive officer of WeWork.

Commercial office space start-up WeWork announced it has $4.4 billion from SoftBank and its related Softbank Vision Fund, which includes other investors. The deal includes $1.4 billion earmarked to help WeWork expand throughout China, Japan and Southeast Asia, as well as $3 billion in growth funding into WeWork's parent company.

CNBC had previously reported that SoftBank might invest as much as $4 billion into the company. WeWork previously announced a $500 million investment from SoftBank and others to expand in China.

With their huge investment, SoftBank's board members Ronald D. Fisher and Mark Schwartz will join the board of WeWork.

WeWork CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann said in a press statement that the company, which provides flexible office spaces to paying members, aims to "humanize" the way people work.

WeWork's competitors include traditional providers of offices for rent like Regus and Carr, along with apps that help workers find a room or cubicle "on-demand," like Breather and Liquidspace.

In May, SoftBank closed $93 billion for its massive Vision Fund. Since then, it has been snapping up huge stakes in rapidly growing tech companies including, prior to the WeWork deal, investments in the vertical farming company Plenty, online lenders Kabbage, and e-commerce firms Fanatics and Flipkart.