Friday, September 20, 2019

AIRBNB Offering IPO Next Year

There is quite the number of stories regarding big companies today that started out only through the initial efforts of a handful of people. Over a decade ago, two working roommates advertised their apartment living room, turned into a bed-and-breakfast, via a website designed by their tech partner. From this humble beginning was born Airbnb, more often than not the place to go online for simple and reasonably affordable homestay lodging or tourist experiences. The San Francisco-based company has grown and expanded all these 11 years since, doing so as a privately-held company. But that is soon about to change.

USA Today tells us that Airbnb is ready to take the plunge in becoming a public company by 2020. The announcement was made by the company on Thursday, September 19, thus putting a rough date to when they would realize this goal which was first made public in May of last year by CEO Bryan Chesky. This move by Airbnb comes sometime after some online startups played their initial public offerings in 2019 and stumbled, namely the Uber and Lyft ride-hailing services. This could mean investors will be approaching an upcoming Airbnb IPO with just the right amount of caution.

Of course, the online marketplace for lodging has done its best to present itself as a strong investment for IPO by next year. This week Airbnb announced that their total lodging online listings now exceed 7 million in 100,000 cities around the world. Their 2019 second-quarter revenue has also been reported as substantially more than $1 billion, the second time in their company history to have done so. And they are also making inroads in branching out from usual homestay listings. The “tourist experience” option, where guests additionally book other activities and local tours on top of their lodgings, is a fairly recent new feature.

Then there are the larger acquisitions Airbnb has been making, likely to beef up its portfolio for an IPO. This year their acquired the Hotel Tonight platform that locates hotel deals at a pinch for guests. The Luxury Retreats deal back in 2017 has also helped to level up its accommodations on offer. About the only fly in the company’s ointment is the increasing pushback against Airbnb accommodations in certain major cities like New York and Barcelona, both for ramping up rental fees for the former and in encouraging the “over-tourism” trend in the latter.

Other than the year, Airbnb has yet to specify when in 2020 their initial public offering will finally be made.

Image courtesy of Irish Times


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