Airnbn, Resilient in Pandemic, Goes Forward With IPO
Techlife News|December 12, 2020
Airbnb proved its resilience in a year that has upended global travel. Now it needs to prove to investors that it sees more growth ahead.

The San Francisco-based home sharing company makes its long-awaited debut on the public market Thursday. The company priced its shares at $68 apiece late Wednesday, giving it an overall value of $47 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction who was not authorized to speak because the amount had not yet been made public. The shares will trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol “ABNB.”

Airbnb raised $3.7 billion in its offering, making it the biggest U.S. IPO this year, according to Renaissance Capital, which tracks IPOs. The company had initially set a price range of $44 to $50 for it shares, but raised that to a range of $56 to $60 earlier this week indicating rising investor demand.

Airbnb’s listing comes a day after another San Francisco-based company, DoorDash, soared through it initial public offering, the second largest after Airbnb’s. DoorDash’s stock jumped 85.8% to close at $189.51. The meal delivery app raised $3.4 billion with its offering.

Airbnb wants to add more hosts and properties, expand in markets like India, China and Latin America and attract new guests.

First, it will need to recover. Airbnb — which has never posted an annual profit — said its revenue fell 32% to $2.5 billion in the first nine months of this year as the coronavirus forced travelers to cancel their plans. The company delayed its IPO — initially planned for the spring — and funded operations with $2 billion in loans. In May, Airbnb cut 1,900 employees — or 25% of its workforce — and halted programs not related to its core business, like movie production.

But in the months since, Airbnb’s business rebounded faster than hotels as travelers felt safer booking private homes away from crowded downtowns during the pandemic. In Miami, for example, short-term rental occupancy reached 83% in October, while average occupancy for hotels was 42%, according to STR, an accommodations data firm.

Airbnb said the number of nights and experiences booked, which plummeted 72% in April compared to year-ago levels, were down 20% in September. Airbnb debuted experiences — from cooking classes to surfing lessons — in 2016.

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