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SoftBank’s WeWork bid signals push to let companies stay private

WeWork Cos. co-founder Miguel McKelvey a few years year ago brushed off the idea of an initial public offering, telling a small gathering in Napa Valley that the shared office-space company is “thinking about how to prolong that eventuality to a distant point in the future.”

Enter SoftBank Group Corp. SFTBY, +4.98% which is increasingly poised to help WeWork and numerous other multibillion-dollar startups in Silicon Valley stave off IPOs.

In what would be by far SoftBank’s most ambitious startup investment, the Japanese company is in discussions to take a majority stake in WeWork with a $15 billion to $20 billion investment, people familiar with the talks said this week.

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