Airbnb share price more than doubles on first day of trading

Startup’s stock market debut starts with a bang

From left: Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia (Airbnb, iStock)
From left: Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia (Airbnb, iStock)

UPDATED, Dec. 10 2020, 5:50 p.m.: Airbnb’s stock shot up on the short-term rental company’s first day of trading, pushing its market valuation past $100 billion.

Going into its IPO, the company had set its price at $68 per share, at a valuation of $47 billion. However the stock price more than doubled at the start of trading Thursday, beginning at $146 and hovering around $145 by mid-afternoon. It remained at around $145 through the closing bell.

Initially, the company was aiming for a valuation of around $33 billion. It revised that earlier this week to $42 billion, and then bumped it again to $47 billion.

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The blockbuster Nasdaq debut follows a year of volatility for the company, which laid off almost 25 percent of its staff and shelved plans for an earlier IPO after the pandemic shattered the global travel industry and caused Airbnb to lose $1 billion in bookings.

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Capitalizing on interest in rural accommodations, the company successfully managed to pull itself out of the crisis after securing a $2 billion lifeline this spring. It filed to go public in August, revealing in an S-1 prospectus that it had lost $696.6 million during the first nine months of 2020 — more than twice the $322.8 million it lost during the same period in 2019. Still, the company had a profitable third quarter, after cutting costs and laying off staff.

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky spoke about the surreal timing in an opening address recorded from his home in San Francisco this morning.

“2020 has been an incredibly different year for so many people,” he said, “and we are so grateful and humbled to be here today.”

This is a developing story. Please check back in for updates.