Short-term home rental company Airbnb Inc has said that it has filed confidentially for an initial public offering with US regulators, setting the stage for one of 2020's marquee US stock market debuts.
The move underscores a rebound in parts of the travel industry, which has been battered this year by restrictions and shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
San Francisco-based Airbnb said in July that customers had booked more than one million nights in a single day for the first time since March 3, in part as US travelers shy away from hotels and prefer to drive to local vacation rentals.
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Shares of US online travel agency Booking Holdings Inc have rebounded by approximately 14% in the past three months, but are still down for the year.
Companies can confidentially submit an IPO registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. If Airbnb moves forward with the IPO, the filing will be made public closer to the time of the listing.
The number of shares that Airbnb will sell and the valuation that it will seek have not yet been determined, Airbnb said in a statement.
Airbnb did not give a timeline for when it may complete its IPO. The company is targeting a listing before the end of the year, a person familiar with the matter said, and cautioned that this is dependant on market conditions.
The collapse of Airbnb's core home-rental business due to the COVID-19 pandemic had prompted Airbnb to suspend marketing activities for the year and cut approximately 25% of its workforce.
In April, the company also raised $2 billion in debt from investors, which valued it at $18 billion, well below the $26 billion that Airbnb cited as an internal valuation in early March.
"The company may be thinking that the lost value they've realised in 2020 could be recouped as a public company, and that will be reflected in the upside in their stock price," said Andrea Walne, general partner at Manhattan Venture Partners, an Airbnb investor.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc are lead advisers on the IPO.