Airbnb plans to file for IPO this month

Filling will allow peer-to-peer rental company to sell shares to the public in 2020

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (Getty)
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (Getty)

Airbnb plans to file IPO paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission later this month, a move that would allow the peer-to-peer home-rental giant to potentially sell shares to the public before the end of the year.

Morgan Stanley was tapped to lead the IPO, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In May, Airbnb laid off almost 2,000 employees — some 25 percent of its staff — as it grappled with the fallout from the pandemic, which devastated the travel industry and saw Airbnb’s valuation fall to $18 billion from a high of $31 billion. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced in July that the president of Airbnb’s Homes division, Greg Greeley, would step down after two years with the company.

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Since the pandemic struck, Airbnb has secured private-equity financing at high interest rates, and increased its focus on longer-term rentals.

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Despite economic disruption caused by the coronavirus, technology companies whose services do not necessarily depend on fixed physical locations have soared in value.

The Nasdaq Composite index which lists many tech companies has risen by nearly 14 percent this year.

Rental insurance provider Lemonade scored a valuation of $3.8 billion when it went public in early July, more than doubling its share price on the first day of trading.

Airbnb has said that despite the pandemic, guests booked more than one million nights’ worth of future stays on July 8 alone, the highest level of bookings since March 3. [WSJ] —Orion Jones