WeWork bought SEO firm Conductor in 2018 for well over $120 million in cash and stock. Following its botched IPO filing last year, the troubled shared workspace provider began to shed most of its many acquisitions; Conductor was one of them.
Almost two years under WeWork. The SEO company has announced that after 20 months as a WeWork subsidiary it will now go forward as an independent, employee-owned company. The leadership team, its roughly 250 employees, and outside investor Jason Finger, Managing Partner of The Finger Group, have bought the company back from WeWork.
According to CEO Seth Besmertnik in a LinkedIn post, “Every Conductor will become a real co-founder. All of our shareholders will have the same and senior-most class of stock – from our employees, to investors, to myself as CEO. Our co-founder employees will have the right to appoint an employee member to our Board of Directors and a host of other benefits and protections we’ll share at a later date.”
Buyback price not disclosed. At the time of the 2018 WeWork acquisition, CEO Seth Besmertnik told me that Conductor would help WeWork members “manage their digital presence.” It’s not clear how much of that actually happened before the events above. The buyback amount was not revealed.
Conductor says it has 400 enterprise customers, which includes Citibank, Samsung, and SAP. Besmertnik also previously told me that during the time of WeWork ownership, the company continued to grow.
Why we care. In one sense, Conductor is back where it was before the WeWork acquisition but with a radically different ownership structure. The company has always been employee and customer focused and this new ownership structure should make it even more so.