WeWork marketing agency in leadership buyback post-IPO fiasco

Founder Seth Besmertnik sold to WeWork in 2018

Conductor, the SEO and content marketing agency acquired by WeWork in 2018, has bought itself back from its troubled parent company.

Agency leadership announced they had successfully divested from The We Company today (12 December), ending its 20-month relationship with the beleaguered business.

Finance for Conductor’s buyout was provided by chief executive and co-founder Seth Besmertnik and chief operating officer and co-founder Selina Eizik, as well as strategic advisor and investor Jason Finger, who is also the founder and former chief executive of food delivery platform Seamless.

The deal will see Finger join the Conductor board.

The company now plans to operate independently after doubling the size of its team under the banner of WeWork. Some 250 employees will now be handed shares in the company.

“With our new equity model, we’re able to deeply ground our cultural approach with a corporate structure that makes this extremely real,” said Besmertnik. “In this new model, our people will have the right to appoint a representative on the board of directors, hold the senior most class of stock in the company and be treated commensurately with their significant contributions.

“I have no doubt this new approach will massively benefit our customers.”

Conductor, which originally launched as LinkExperts in 2006, counts Citibank, Samsung and SAP among its clients.

The news comes as WeWork begins to divest a number of businesses not attached to its core office rental offering.

The company has shuttered its restaurant coworking unit Spacious, Business Insider reported today, and its school, WeGrow, will close at the end of the academic year. Meanwhile, The Real Deal reported WeWork-owned office services firm Managed by Q is currently being fought over by its founder, Dan Teran and rival company Eden.

WeWork failed in its mission to IPO earlier this year, which led to a plummeting valuation and the exit of chief executive Adam Neumann.

The company laid off nearly 2,500 employees at the end of November as part of a major cost-cutting effort. It appointed new leadership in the same week, which included Publicis veteran Maurice Lévy as interim chief marketing officer.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.