Airbnb seeks to confidentially file an IPO with the SEC at some point this month according to sources familiar with the matter. If the company does file this month, shares could begin trading by the end of 2020.
The reports follow an announcement earlier this year that Airbnb had plans to go public but ended up delaying the move due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the company to lay off 25% of its staff, or 1,900 employees, in order to reduce costs.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told employees at the time that company revenues for 2020 will be less than half of what they were in 2019, pointing to a major decline in the travel and hospitality industries due to the coronavirus.
In a heartfelt speech, Chesky said to Airbnb employees, “I have a deep feeling of love for all of you. Our mission is not merely about travel. When we started Airbnb, our original tagline was, ‘Travel like a human.’ The human part was always more important than the travel part. What we are about is belonging, and at the center of belonging is love.”
Since the pandemic began, Airbnb’s valuation dropped from $31 billion to $18 billion. Furthermore, the company has raised equity and debt to the tune of $1 billion from Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners to carry the company through the crisis.
A week later, the company raised an additional $1 billion from Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Blackrock. While the company has managed to stay afloat, it remains to be seen how the raised equity and drop in valuation will impact the company’s plans to file this month with the SEC and launch an IPO later this year.
Regardless, Airbnb has generated tons of interest from investors as a highly profitable short-term stay provider which offers services to weary travelers in practically every corner of the globe.
As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to taper off, it will be interesting to see how quickly Airbnb and other companies within the space will recover.
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