WeWork increasingly looks like an extraordinarily public SPV to pump up the value of its investor's (and CEO's) real estate holdings.
Look at the early investors and also who owns many of the high profile buildings WeWork leases.
The scam would be: a building with a low vacancy rate can be worth literally multiples of a building with a high vacancy rate. An investor who put $10M in WeWork, but had WeWork lease their New York building, would see the building's value increase $50M or more. Sell building, reap cash, wait for WeWork to fail and stick the new owner with a high vacancy building.
Whether WeWork IPOs, for these investors, is largely irrelevant.
It is also interesting to see JPM's involvement with Neumann and WeWork...since JPM also represents a lot of these real estate ownership groups...