WeWork’s valuation of about $42 billion makes it one of the world’s most valuable privately held companies. Begun as a co-working space in Manhattan eight years ago, it has also become one of the biggest corporate landlords in the world. It has continued to expand rapidly into new markets around the world.

But the costs of the company’s rapid growth stand out, even among the crowd of technology darlings that run huge losses to expand their empires.

For WeWork, one of the most important measures of its success is its breakneck growth — even if that means huge losses.The co-working company disclosed on Monday that its losses more than doubled last year to about $1.9 billion, even as its total revenue also doubled to about $1.8 billion. But instead of expressing concern about the mounting losses, executives argued that they were a sign of the company’s giant ambitions.

“We can very much, if we chose to, moderate our growth and become profitable,” Artie Minson, WeWork’s president, said in a telephone interview.

WeWork Cos. said Wednesday that sales growth accelerated and losses slightly narrowed in the first quarter. The New York company, one of the country’s most valuable startups, is preparing to test public investors’ appetite for another tech-infused, cash-burning business after the disappointing debut of Uber Technologies Inc.

 The company, which leases office buildings, renovates them and rents space to workers, reduced its loss to $264 million last quarter, from $274 million a year earlier. Revenue more than doubled to $728 million in the same period, as did membership. The losses were driven by development costs, which almost tripled to $160 million, and marketing expenses, which more than doubled from a year ago to $141 million.

 However softbank could be the issue. The initial public offering of its parent company, We Co., is being delayed, and when it does occur, the stock market may value the company at as little as $15 billion, about one-third of the $47 billion valuation it had when Son last put money into the company. As the September quarter draws to a close, SoftBank will need to decide whether to write down the value of its 29% stake in WeWork.

The two sides have been in talks over an increase to the sum SoftBank would pump in of at least $1bn, with negotiations centred on the valuation cut WeWork would be dealt in the transaction. Fresh capital is critical for WeWork, which is also seeking to clinch a much-reduced $3bn to $4bn loan from a group of Wall Street banks. The lenders are refusing to bankroll a deal of that size unless WeWork first raises new equity, according to multiple sources.

And in the latest stream of events WeWork has put a halt to the signing of new lease agreements with property owners as the lossmaking group tries to rapidly rein in costs, according to people briefed on the matter. The move will rattle commercial property owners across the globe who rented to WeWork, which often upgraded the spaces so the group could re-let the buildings to its own customers. Landlords have been bracing for the possibility that WeWork, which has become the biggest office tenant in New York and one of the largest in London, could suspend its expansion. The decision to put all new leases on ice comes as WeWork’s parent group, the We Company, readies to lay off thousands of its 12,000-plus employees in the coming weeks.
The group has burnt through capital as it expanded to more than 500 offices in 111 cities, and last year it reported a loss of $1.6bn on sales of $1.8bn. Creditors have raised concerns over its capital reserves, which stood at roughly $2.5bn at the end of June, and on Thursday analysts S&P Global cut the company’s credit rating deeper into junk territory. The yield on WeWork’s debt surged above 10 per cent on the downgrade, in a sign of the financial strain on the group.

The unravelling of the IPO has already shown up in the accounts of several of WeWork’s investors. The investment bank Jefferies late on Thursday took a $146m writedown on a stake it purchased in the co-working space provider in 2013. Jefferies said it had reduced its valuation based on an estimate it made on August 31, which included a “significant discount due to uncertainty regarding the timing and pricing of We’s IPO”, and that it could face further writedowns in the future.