Airbnb files paperwork to go public

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Short-term home rental service Airbnb has revealed that it has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with US regulators confidentially.

Companies have the provision to submit an IPO registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission confidentially. If Airbnb moves forward with the IPO, the filing would be made public closer to the time of the listing.

The move signals a recovery in parts of the travel industry, which was ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions and shutdowns this year.

In July, the US based Airbnb said that for the first time since 3rd March, customers had booked more than 1 million nights in a single day, as travelers shy away from hotels and prefer to drive to local vacation rentals.

The number of shares that will be sold and its valuation is not yet decided, Airbnb said in a statement.

Airbnb has not given a timeline for when it will complete its IPO. According to a person familiar with the matter, the company is targeting a listing before the end of the year, cautioning that this depends on market conditions.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collapse of Airbnb’s key home-rental service had forced Airbnb to suspend marketing operations for the year and slash about 25 percent of its workforce.

The company also raised $2 billion in debt from investors in April, valuing it at $18 billion well below the $26 billion Airbnb cited early in March as an internal valuation.

Airbnb’s decision to go public came as US capital markets display a stunning recovery, with the likes of online used car seller Vroom and business intelligence platform ZoomInfo Technologies seeing their shares flourish after it became public.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb has disrupted the hotel industry by allowing individuals to rent out rooms for travelers in their homes. It has become one of the world’s most valuable private startups, and had, at one point reached a valuation of $31 billion.