Airbnb to make IPO filing public next week despite COVID-19 surge: sources

By Reuters
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Airbnb is displayed at an Airbnb event in Tokyo

(Reuters) – Airbnb Inc plans to make its IPO registration public next week, putting it on course for a New York stock market debut in December even as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The U.S. home rental company’s planned debut on the Nasdaq is set to be one of the largest stock market listings of 2020, amid a pandemic that has seen demand for house rentals surge as vacationers snub hotels to practice social distancing. Airbnb’s initial public offering filing will give outsiders their first detailed look into Airbnb’s business, shedding light on the company’s reinvention after the coronavirus outbreak pushed it to shift focus from city apartments to holiday homes.

The United States set a one-day record for new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with at least 102,591 new infections reported, according to a Reuters tally. Airbnb plans to set an IPO price range and kick off an investor roadshow in December, the sources said, cautioning that the timing is subject to market conditions. Reuters reported last month that Airbnb was aiming to raise around $3 billion, and that it could achieve a valuation of more than $30 billion in the IPO.

The U.S. election diminished uncertainty for IPO hopefuls this week, as the prospect of a divided government that would not raise taxes fueled a stock market rally. The CBOE volatility index <.VIX>, a gauge for short-term volatility that is closely monitored by IPO candidates, has hit a two-week low after spiking to a four-month high in the run-up to the election. It is already a blockbuster year for IPOs, with the likes of record label Warner Music Group <WMG.O>, data analytics firm Palantir Technologies <PLTR.N> and data warehouse company Snowflake Inc <SNOW.N> going public this year. It would follow a dramatic recovery from earlier this year. Airbnb secured emergency funding from investors, including Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, in April, amid the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said in July that customers had booked more than one million nights in a single day for the first time since March 3. Shares of U.S. online travel agency Booking Holdings Inc <BKNG.O>, which some Airbnb investors use as a conservative public market proxy for its own stock, have rebounded more than 50% in the past eight months.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Boston and Anirban Sen in Bengaluru; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Pravin Char)