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DoorDash, Wish and Affirm join Airbnb to fuel year-end IPO boom

DoorDash, Wish and Affirm join Airbnb to fuel year-end IPO boom

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4 -min read
Listen to this article

[NEW YORK] As Airbnb prepares for its long-awaited Nasdaq debut, other consumer-facing technology companies are joining the going-public party, which had been dominated so far this year by enterprise software listings.

Food-delivery service DoorDash, online discount retailer Wish and instalment loans provider Affirm could join Airbnb in making their financials public in the next few weeks, according to people familiar with their plans. All would seek to hold their initial public offerings (IPOs) before the end of 2020, the people said.

That would add billions of dollars to the record total of more than US$140 billion raised on US exchanges this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That includes special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, which have reached all-time highs, the data show.

IPO advisers are expecting to see a record amount of listing activity during the period between the US Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Companies that sat out the market chaos during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic are now rushing to go public, after also waiting for the result of the US election before making their move.

Airbnb will seek to raise about US$3 billion in its IPO, people with knowledge of its plans have said, making it the largest of the four. The home rental company had intended to make its IPO filing public on Thursday, but decided to wait until next week to avoid its news being overshadowed by the aftermath of the US election, Bloomberg News reported.

FLIPPING FILINGS

The public filing - or flipping - of listing documents marks an important milestone in the IPO process, giving investors their first full look at a company's finances as well as details of its operations and ownership. Fifteen days after a prospectus becomes public, a company can begin taking investor orders for shares in the IPO.

San Francisco-based DoorDash is racing ahead with its plans after it helped pass a California ballot proposition that allows it and other gig economy companies to treat drivers and delivery workers as independent contractors rather than employees. The company, which said in February that it had confidentially filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an IPO, could flip its listing plans as soon as this week, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Online retailer Wish filed confidentially in late August for a listing and is likely to reveal its prospectus within two weeks, people familiar with its plans said. The San Francisco-based company, a sponsor of the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Lakers, was last valued at US$11.2 billion in August 2019, a statement at the time showed.

A public filing from Affirm, which lets online shoppers pay in instalments, could also be imminent, said people with knowledge of the matter. Affirm, also based in San Francisco, said in October that it had filed with the SEC confidentially.

SOFTWARE RUSH

Investors won't have to wait much longer to see the stock market debut of video game platform Roblox, last privately valued at US$4 billion. The San Mateo, California-based company said in October it had submitted confidential paperwork.

Timing for all the listings could change and discussions about valuations of the companies are ongoing, the people said. Representatives for DoorDash, Affirm and Wish declined to comment.

The incoming wave of consumer technology listings follows a rush of enterprise software companies that came to market in September, when seven software makers, including Snowflake, Unity Software, Asana and Palantir Technologies, went public.

The tech IPO boom is likely to keep rolling into 2021. Grocery startup Instacart, which hit a valuation of US$17.7 billion in an October funding round, could list next year, as could US$10 billion software maker UiPath. Used-clothing platforms Poshmark and ThredUp have each filed confidentially for a listing, while online mortgage lender Better.com has tapped banks to help it go public in 2021.

Dating app Bumble is also preparing an IPO for early next year, which could value it at US$6 billion to US$8 billion. People familiar with its plans have said it's working on the listing with Goldman Sachs Group, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

BLOOMBERG

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