Airbnb told employees it’s resuming plans to go public as business slowly bounces back – Business Insider
  • Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told employees that the company is resuming preparations for an IPO, The New York Times first reported Wednesday and Business Insider confirmed.
  • The company has said that it intends to go public sometime this year, but Bloomberg reported that the timeline could be pushed to 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Airbnb, which was reportedly losing money even before the pandemic, saw business plummet as travel ground to a halt.
  • But the company is also under pressure to go public from employees whose stock options could start expiring soon.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Despite taking a major hit to its business during the pandemic, Airbnb is once again gearing up to go public, The New York Times first reported Wednesday and Business Insider confirmed.

“This is something I never would have imagined telling you,” CEO Brian Chesky told employees, according to The Times.

Airbnb has said since last fall that it intends to go public sometime “during 2020,” but Bloomberg reported in March that the company might push its target date back to next year due to coronavirus fears and massive economic fallout.

At the time, Airbnb’s urban bookings had dropped as much as 96% in some cities since the virus halted global travel, and the Financial Times reported in early April that Airbnb had slashed its internal valuation to $26 billion — a 16% drop from the company’s previous valuation of $31 billion, according to PitchBook. In May, the company cut its workforce by 25% — 1,900 jobs — in an attempt to cut costs.

Airbnb has shown some small signs of a rebound since then, reporting in June that bookings had surged as some travel resumed, but still has a long road to recovery — let alone profitability, with The Wall Street Journal reporting in April that Airbnb lost $674 million in 2019.

Airbnb is also under pressure from employees, with The New York Times reporting last year that some could see stock options expire starting this November if the company doesn’t go public by then. 

But with COVID-19 cases surging again in many states, the realities of the pandemic could still hold Airbnb back.

“We’re not committing to going public this year, but we’re not ruling it out, either,” Chesky told employees following the meeting in an email seen by Business Insider. “When the market is ready, we will be ready, because Airbnb was down but we were not out.”


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Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Airbnb.

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