WeWork to Close Its Russian Offices Ukraine Invasion in Backtrack

  • WeWork says it’s leaving Russia, where it has four offices, because of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • The announcement came just a week after its CEO said it had no plans to close its offices there.
  • Other companies have been scrambling to cut ties with Russia.

WeWork says it’s leaving Russia, just a week after its CEO said it had no plans to close its offices in the country despite Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine.

WeWork has four offices in Moscow which, CEO Sandeep Mathrani previously told Bloomberg, collectively bring in around $10 million in revenue a year.

In a statement released on Monday, WeWork said it was finalizing plans to divest from its Russian operations and had suspended its expansion plans in the country.

“We unequivocally condemn the unprovoked and unjust war that is bringing senseless devastation to the people of Ukraine,” the coworking-space company said.

Companies have been scrambling to cut ties with Russia since it invaded Ukraine on February 24. Some have shut their Russian offices, closed stores, or ended online services or sales. Many are Western, like Spotify, Paypal, Disney, and the Big Four accounting firms, but TikTok, which is owned by Beijing company ByteDance, is limiting its operations in Russia, too.

The announcement represents a U-turn from when Mathrani told Bloomberg on February 28 that WeWork didn’t plan on leaving the Russian market.

When asked whether WeWork would retreat from the Russian market, Mathrani had said: “I don’t think so.”

 “We hope for a resolution of the conflict and hopefully we can continue to do business in Moscow,” Mathrani continued. He added that WeWork performed “incredibly well” in Russia but that it was a “small part” of its business. As of late September, WeWork had more than 750 locations globally.

Adam Hug, director of the left-leaning UK think tank, The Foreign Policy Centre, told Insider that he expected more brands to retreat from Russia. The huge sanctions slapped on Russia include barring some international transactions, which will make it difficult for overseas firms to operate there.

“It’s not worth people’s reputational time to be involved in the Russian market right now and they’ll have real trouble getting paid for stuff,” Hug said.

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