Report: Airbnb Eyes IPO Before Year’s End


Despite a 40 percent decrease in its valuation in three years, Airbnb Inc. is on track to go public in a move that would illustrate a bounce-back in the sinking homesharing sector.

The Wall Street Journal reported the San Francisco-based online vacation rental marketplace is planning to file its initial public offering (IPO) later this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sources told the newspaper Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have been hired to manage the IPO.

Airbnb was recently valued at $18 billion, down from a 2017 valuation of $31 billion.

Last month, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told employees it could be the right time for Airbnb to go public. As the marketplace has seen its bookings rebound after the COVID-19 disruption, Chesky wrote, “When the market is ready, we will be ready. We were down, but we’re not out.”

Despite an infusion of  $2 billion from investors in April, Airbnb laid off 1,900 employees, or 25 percent of its 7,500-person workforce in two dozen countries, Chesky said in May.

“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill,” Chesky told employees. “Airbnb’s business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019.”

Airbnb recently reported a surge in its rural vacation home rentals. In June, hosts in rural America earned over $200 million total, a 25 percent year-over-year increase, the company said.

The timing of an IPO for Airbnb comes as investors have emerged from a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic. Among the companies seeking public investment are Music label Warner Music Group Corp. and insurance startup Lemonade Inc. which staged successful launches in June and July, while shares of food-delivery startup DoorDash Inc. and data-analytics firm Palantir Technologies Inc. are expected to start trading later this summer or in the early fall, WSJ reported.