The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the acquisition of certain share capital of WeWork India Management Private Ltd by Real Trustee Advisory Company Private Ltd and of 100% share capital of 1 Ariel Way Tenant Limited (OAW) by Embassy Buildcon. WeWork India, a private limited company registered in India, is engaged in the operation of flexible workspaces and operation of digital real estate workplace solutions for companies. Earlier, Bengaluru-based Embassy Group, the promoter of WeWork, owned a majority stake in the firm while the remaining shares were held by UK-based firm, 1 Ariel Way Limited, on behalf of WeWork Global. This decision formalises the proposed deal of WeWork Global to exit its operations in India. The parties had made headway in this direction earlier, the approval from the anti-trust regulator was necessary to strike such a deal because such a large fund infusion in a market leader required regulatory approval. A detailed order from the competition commission is yet to follow. The commission said the proposed combination would unfold in two steps. First, a certain share capital of WeWork India, the money the company raised by issuing shares of its stock, would be acquired on a fully diluted basis by Real Trustee, representing Volrado Ventures (as trustee for Volrado II and Volrado III) along with other independent co-buyers from Embassy Buildcon. Real Trustee is the trustee of Volrado Ventures, which are alternative investment funds (AIFs) registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), where Volrado II is a Category I AIF and Volrado III is a Category II AIF. Second, a 100% acquisition of share capital of OAW will be made by Embassy Buildcon from WeWork International, resulting in Embassy Buildcon in aggregate holding share capital of WeWork India through OAW. This means it would in aggregate continue to hold a majority shareholding in WeWork India. Embassy Buildcon, a limited liability partnership organised and registered in India, is engaged in the business of real estate development of residential and commercial assets and other related activities. Now that the approval has come through, WeWork’s ownership structure will change in India. Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey founded WeWork in 2010 and raised several billion dollars from top investors including SoftBank. In November last year, however, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Indian version of the company, however, seems to have fared better than WeWork Global. In 2017, Softbank-backed WeWork International entered the Indian market with Bengaluru-based Embassy Group with the latter holding the promoting and marketing rights for WeWork India. WeWork India currently operates over 90,000 seats from 55 locations across eight cities. These are Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Noida, and Pune. Its offerings include office space and workspace solutions (on-demand workspaces and shared or co-working spaces). The Bengaluru-headquartered company last Thursday made foray into the Tamil Nadu market, with the launch of its Olympia Cyberspace.

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