While the split in SoftBank's contribution between equity and debt is still being negotiated, its investment could make it the majority owner of WeWork. Were this to translate to formal voting control for SoftBank, it could force it to consolidate the loss-making company on its balance sheet, the sources said.

This in turn could result in SoftBank assuming WeWork's liabilities, which include long-term leases for office space that it refurbishes and rents out under short-term contracts, according to the sources. WeWork had $18 billion in long-term lease obligations as of the end of June, according its most recent public financial disclosure. It also had $1.3 billion in net debt.

SoftBank has been keen not to burden its balance sheet further, given its net debt of about 5 trillion yen ($46 billion) as of the end of June, more than half its 9 trillion yen market capitalization, according to the Japanese technology conglomerate's most recent quarterly earnings statement.

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