One of the most hotly anticipated stock market listings of the year – the flotation of office property rental firm WeWork – is now in doubt.

The uncertainty comes after the firm was reported to be facing pressure from its biggest external investor, Japanese firm SoftBank, to drop its flotation plans amid concerns about its plunging valuation.

The company was valued at $47bn (£38bn) last year, but reports have suggested it is now considering a price tag of less than $20bn.

Other high-profile and heavily loss-making companies – such as ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber and messaging app Slack – have struggled to maintain their initial valuations.

The firms were part of a pack of much-touted “unicorns” – privately held start-ups valued at more than

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