SPEAK ABOUT terrible timing. When the pandemic hit in March, Brian Chesky had simply put the finishing touches on the paperwork for Airbnb’s much-awaited public listing. Rather of travelling to New york city to call the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock market, he discovered himself spending days (and nights) on Zoom in his home office in San Francisco, fighting to keep his online holiday-rental market alive. “It was like you are going 100 miles an hour and unexpectedly need to hit the brakes,” Airbnb’s boss remembers.
On November 16 th Airbnb revealed its prospectus, putting it on track for an initial public offering (IPO) next month, just as the very first doses of the covid-19 vaccine may become readily available. The IPO could value Airbnb at more than $30 bn.
The vaccine is not the only thing that makes this an opportune time for Airbnb to go public. The window for tech IPOs has not been open this wide given that the dotcom bubble 20 years ago. More than 50 tech start-ups have actually floated this year, raising a total of $26 bn, according to Dealogic, an information company. A number of Airbnb’s staff members want to capitalize the shares they have been awarded prior to their right to do so expires. And the firm requires money, on top of the $2bn it raised previously this year to …
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