October 30, 2019 / 1:58 PM / 23 days ago

Fidelity Contrafund cuts value of WeWork stake by 35%

FILE PHOTO: A WeWork logo is seen outside its offices in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Kate Munsch/File Photo

BOSTON (Reuters) - Fidelity Investments cut the value of Contrafund’s stake in WeWork Companies Inc by 35% in September amid turmoil surrounding the office-sharing startup’s failed initial public offering (IPO).

Fidelity disclosed on Wednesday that Contrafund (FCNTX.O) held $193.1 million in Series E WeWork shares at the end of September, down from $295.1 million the previous month. The valuation cut assumes no shares were bought, sold or transferred between the two periods.

Fidelity declined to comment.

The $100 billion-plus Contrafund is run by Will Danoff, one of the top stock pickers in the U.S. mutual fund industry over the past 25 years. Contrafund bought $179.7 million worth of WeWork’s Series E shares in June 2015, according to fund disclosures. Fidelity valued those shares at $411.5 million at the end of 2018.

Fidelity and other mutual fund companies have invested in pre-IPO companies to juice their returns. WeWork looked like another promising bet before the value of its equity cratered as questions surfaced about its financial viability.

The IPO was abandoned in September as investors balked at sky-high valuations - a deal in January had tagged its worth at $47 billion. A rescue effort by SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) now values it at just $8 billion.

Reporting By Tim McLaughlin; Editing by David Goodman and Jonathan Oatis

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