Airbnb files for the initial public offering

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Airbnb, the accommodation reservation company, said it had filed an initial public offering with regulators, marking a rapid reversal from earlier this year, when the coronavirus pandemic appeared to put those plans on hold.

The San Francisco-based company said it has filed a draft confidential registration statement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. He did not provide further details on the size or timing of the planned offer.

Airbnb’s list would probably be one of the biggest this year. The company had previously considered a direct listing, in which no new shares are sold, but said on Wednesday it would continue with a traditional IPO.

With the announcement, Airbnb joins a host of companies looking to go public in the coming months to take advantage of the soaring stock market and avoid any volatility resulting from the November US presidential election.

Airbnb reignited its intention to go public when seeing signs of a rebound following a huge disruption to its business at the start of the pandemic, which led the company to raise $ 2 billion in emergency debt financing .

As part of the fundraiser, some investors bought stock warrants, giving Airbnb an implied valuation of $ 18 billion, down from the $ 31 billion figure reached in a cycle. funding in 2017.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are advising Airbnb on the IPO, according to people familiar with the discussions.

“When the market is ready, we’ll be ready,” Brian Chesky, managing director, told his employees in an email last month. “We were down, but we didn’t get out.

In preparation for the offer, Airbnb cut costs, notably by withdrawing from non-essential parts of its business such as luxury stays. The company also laid off about 25% of its workforce and canceled its marketing spending, blaming the pandemic for these moves.

In May, Mr Chesky said he expected 2020 revenues to be about half of the $ 4.8 billion the company took last year.

Airbnb said last month that it took 1 million bookings in a single day for the first time since the global pandemic took hold, although customers using the service are leaning more towards local stays, rather than towards trips further afield, as had mostly been the case before.

Independent data from AirDNA suggests that in June, Airbnb bookings in rural areas increased by 25% compared to the same month in 2019. However, its more profitable urban markets, such as Boston, Los Angeles and New York, were still well down. .

“They are definitely seeing a recovery,” said Charuta Fadnis, travel industry analyst at Phocuswright. “But I think they face the same issues as all the other travel companies, there are so many uncertainties. Business travel will definitely be impacted and won’t be coming back anytime soon. ”

In July, Greg Greeley, head of Airbnb’s “Houses”, resigned to be replaced by former Walt Disney and BBC Worldwide director Catherine Powell, who was responsible for Airbnb’s Experiences product.

“If we are to go back to our roots, we have to get back to excellent hospitality,” Chesky said of the staff changes.

Previously, the company had expressed an interest in giving hosts a stake in the business once it went public.

Airbnb declined to comment beyond the statement.

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