[NEW YORK] Airbnb plans to open its books to investors as soon as next Thursday ahead of a much-anticipated initial public offering (IPO), according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The home-rental startup, which said in August it filed confidentially for a listing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, will make those documents and its financial information public for the first time. Airbnb is aiming to raise as much as US$3 billion in an IPO on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, Bloomberg has reported, in what would be one of the biggest listings this year. Timing of the filing could still change, said the people, who declined to be named discussing private information.
Airbnb's listing will come in a tight window for public debuts during an eventful year. Covid-19 and the uncertain outcome of the US presidential election had led companies to think twice before tapping the market, while the holiday calendar in the remainder of the year means there is a shorter time frame to get deals done.
A representative for Airbnb declined to comment. Reuters earlier reported on the filing coming next week. While Airbnb had been sending incremental updates to the market signalling its debut is on the way, filing the prospectus will serve as a key milestone. It will be allowed to start taking orders for shares from investors 15 days after the documents are available. Airbnb is expected to be trading in early December.
Airbnb is pushing through with its IPO despite a tumultuous year that almost saw plans scrapped with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As Covid-19 shut down global travel, Airbnb saw its bookings plummet and revenue tumble.
The company cut a quarter of its staff in May with reservations down 70 per cent from a year earlier. However, Airbnb bounced back faster than expected over the summer. In June, bookings were down only 30 per cent compared with the same month in 2019. The surge in demand was driven by travellers seeking nearby vacation rentals to escape shuttered cities and take advantage of remote work policies.
The San Francisco-based company was valued at US$18 billion in April when it raised US$2 billion in debt from investors at the depth of the pandemic. That was a significant drop from its earlier peak valuation of US$31 billion in a 2017 fundraising round. The quicker-than-expected rebound from the pandemic has brought the company's valuation back to US$22 billion at end of September, based on the value of its common shares at a recent stock split, Bloomberg News reported.
If it raises the US$3 billion it hopes to, Airbnb's offering would be the third-biggest on Nasdaq, topped only by Facebook's US$16 billion IPO in 2012 and Mondelez International's US$8.68 billion listing in 2001.