Airbnb Sure Is Going Public


Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty)

Airbnb announced that it expects to become a publicly traded company next year, in a press release made in accordance with Rule 135 of the Securities Act of 1933.

How do we know this? A company blog post entitled “Airbnb Announces Intention to Become a Publicly-Traded Company During 2020″ explains:

Airbnb, Inc. announced today that it expects to become a publicly-traded company during 2020.

This press release is being made pursuant to, and in accordance with, Rule 135 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and shall not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities. Any offers, solicitations or offers to buy, or any sales of securities will be made in accordance with the registration requirements of the Securities Act.

Has the company already sent its IPO paperwork to the SEC confidentially, or does the announcement precede any formal filing?

Will the short-term rental platform resemble the recent tech IPOs of Zoom and Pinterest, or the disappointing flops of Uber and Lyft that more closely resemble its “sharing economy” model?

Why is there so much open speculation that Airbnb will pursue a direct listing, similar to workplace chat software company Slack?

Does the “intention” or “expectation” of an IPO mean anything at all in the wake of WeWork’s trip-and-stumble attempt to go public?

Could you, with a gun to your head, possibly name any of the c-suite executives running Airbnb?

Is Airbnb—currently valued around $31 billion, with a recent self-reported revenue of around $1 billion per quarter—even profitable?

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Airbnb Inc. expects to go public next year, the company said Thursday, the latest multibillion-dollar startup seeking to widen its investor base.

Or as the New York Post put it:

Airbnb announced Thursday that it intends to finally go public next year.

Fortune contended that:

Airbnb said on Thursday that it would file for an initial public offering in 2020, marking what will be another in a string of huge Wall Street debuts for tech companies.

The New York Times, in its verbosity, wrote that:

Airbnb said on Thursday that it planned to go public in 2020, becoming one of the last of a generation of prominent technology start-ups to aim for the stock market, even as some of its brethren have struggled since listing their shares.

A staid Reuters reported:

Home rental giant Airbnb said it plans to list its shares in 2020, making it one of the most high-profile names to tap the stock market next year.

While Business Insider snarked that:

Airbnb on Thursday announced it plans to go public in 2020. The startup did not specify a timeline beyond “during 2020.”

We’re all out here reading the tea leaves, to be sure, and who can say what will or will not happen during the next 15 months, give or take. All we know for sure is that Airbnb, Inc. announced today that it expects to become a publicly traded company during 2020.



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