- Conductor, the SEO and content company purchased by WeWork in 2018, has bought itself out from The We Company, according to information provided to Marketing Dive. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the buyers include existing leadership, employees and outside investors.
- The newly independent company has been restructured to consist of more than 250 employee co-founders. Each of these players will receive founder preferred stock as well as a majority ownership stake in the company. Conductor's enterprise customers include Citibank, Casper and Slack.
- The deal was financed by Conductor CEO and co-founder Seth Besmertnik and Selina Eizik, who formerly served as COO, as well as Jason Finger, managing partner of The Finger Group, and founder and former chief of Seamless. Finger will sit on Conductor's board.
Conductor was a growing SEO and content marketing firm when it was acquired by client WeWork in 2018. The buyout by leadership and employees signals that the company wants to keep up this momentum and not become a victim of its parent's troubles. Content marketing continues to be an important digital strategy used by 84% of companies, according to eMarketer, and one that Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik said in a press release makes it easier for brands to reach consumers who don't like traditional advertising with content that is helpful and valuable.
Conductor invested aggressively in research and development and doubled the size of its team under WeWork's ownership, Besmertnik stated in the release. The content company also expanded its client roster and modernized how clients could take digital data and insights and apply these learnings across their business using relevant content, Besmertnik told Marketing Dive in an interview last year. For example, Conductor helped Ski.com optimize content for people on vacation by creating a ski glossary to educate people about the winter sport. It also worked with John Hancock Investments to align content informed by what people searched for online.
The news about Conductor's buyout comes as WeWork has been divesting businesses after its failed IPO and the departure of its CEO Adam Neumann earlier this year. WeWork has also shed its restaurant co-working brand Spacious and private school WeGrow, The Drum reports.
As an employee-owned company, Conductor will look to merge a people-first work culture where employees can appoint a representative on the Board of Directors with a customer-first approach — an approach Besmertnik and investors are betting will drive further growth.