Airbnb targets $34.8bn valuation in Wall Street float

Airbnb is aiming for a valuation of up to $34.8bn (£25.5bn) when it floats in New York next week after a swift recovery in its fortunes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s plans for an initial public offering (IPO) had been delayed earlier this year as travel restrictions hit bookings and prompted a cull of jobs.

But it has recovered more quickly than traditional hotels as guests seek homes in rural locations away from crowds.

Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-founder of Airbnb, speaks to the Economic Club of New York at a luncheon at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. March 13, 2017.
Image:Co-founder Brian Chesky’s stake will be worth more than $3bn

In a regulatory filing on Tuesday, the company said it expected to price its shares at between $44 and $50 when they list on Wall Street’s Nasdaq exchange on 10 December, giving it a valuation of $34.8bn at the top end.

Founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, whose stakes in the company will each be worth more than $3bn, plan to sell stock worth nearly $100m in the IPO launch.

Some of its other investors include Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher.

San Francisco-based Airbnb, launched in 2008, has more than seven million listings on its platform, with four million hosts, worldwide.

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The company allows homeowners to make money by renting their flats and houses while they are away themselves.

Revenues fell 32% to $2.5bn in the first nine months of this year as travellers cancelled plans.

Ashton Kutcher is expected to give evidence during the trial
Image:Ashton Kutcher is among investors in Airbnb

In May, Airbnb cut 1,900 jobs, or around 25% of its workforce, as it slashed investments in projects not related to its core business, including film production.

The number of nights and experiences booked on its platform were down by 72% in April. But they recovered later in the year and were only about 20% down in July, August and September.

Its recovery helped Airbnb post a surprise profit in the third quarter.

The company appears to have benefited from a trend revealed in figures from hospitality data firm STR, which showed short-term rental occupancy in some locations was much higher than occupancy for hotels in October.

Airbnb has said it thinks the shift to working from home will see more businesspeople book holiday rentals.

“We believe that the lines between travel and living are blurring, and the global pandemic has accelerated the ability to live anywhere,” the company said in a recent financial filing.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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