Airbnb announces it plans to go public in 2020

Uber and Lyft are each trading well below their IPO pr...

Posted: Sep 20, 2019 3:15 AM

Uber and Lyft are each trading well below their IPO prices. Slack's stock took a beating after its first earnings report as a public company earlier this month. And WeWork is struggling just to make it across the IPO finish line.

And yet Airbnb, one of the most highly valued tech startups around, wants the world to know it still intends to go public despite all the red flags from its peers -- just not this year.

The home-rental service said Thursday that it intends to go public in 2020, though it did not specify whether its IPO would take place in the first half or second half of the year.

It's somewhat unusual for a company to announce its intention to go public so far out. And it's unclear whether Airbnb has confidentially filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering, which would allow it to get feedback from the agency without making its financials available publicly. Airbnb, which was valued at about $31 billion in its most recent private fund-raising round, didn't reveal how it plans to list its shares.

Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Airbnb is one of the most well known so-called unicorns, or startups valued at over $1 billion. This year has seen a number of high profile IPOs, including from Uber, Lyft, Zoom, Slack and Pinterest, so Airbnb has likely faced questions over the timing of its offering.

WeWork has also taken steps toward an IPO but the plans have reportedly been delayed as investors worry over its history of massive losses and questionable corporate governance practices.

Wall Street has been tough on companies that haven't shown progress toward turning a profit, most notably Uber and Lyft. For its part, Airbnb says it was profitable in 2017 and 2018, excluding some expenses.

Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb has slowly evolved from a home-sharing site into more of a full-service travel company.

In June, the company announced it was adding Airbnb Adventures — trip packages in locations around the world — to its platform.

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