Airbnb’s IPO: Everything You Need to Know
Home-sharing giant Airbnb Inc. unveiled paperwork for its initial public offering this week, moving ahead with its plans to sell shares to the public in a challenging year when the coronavirus pandemic has buckled the travel industry.
The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2008 after Joe Gebbia got his friends Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk excited about renting an air mattress in his downtown apartment. It has grown into a global behemoth with more than 4 million hosts and over 7.4 million listings of home rentals along with “experiences” like guided wine tours, mountaintop yoga and pottery classes.
这家总部位于旧金山的公司成立于2008年，当时乔·格比亚(Joe Gebbia)让他的朋友布莱恩·切斯基(Brian Chesky)和内森·布莱查奇克(Nathan Blecharczyk)对在他位于市中心的公寓租一张充气床垫感到兴奋。它已经成长为一个全球庞然大物，拥有超过400万的房东和超过740万的房屋租赁清单，以及像导游葡萄酒之旅、山顶瑜伽和陶艺课程这样的“体验”。
Here is what you need to know:
Airbnb is planning its market debut in mid-December after an investor roadshow to promote the offering and gauge demand. The investment banks underwriting the offering will then work with the company to decide how many shares to offer in what price range.
The company had been considering a direct listing, in which shares can start trading publicly but no money is raised. Instead, Airbnb has opted for a traditional IPO in which it will sell new shares to raise capital. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol ABNB.
The money raised can be used for various things, including investments, acquisitions and paying off the money Airbnb borrowed to navigate the health crisis earlier this year. It is also a way for the company’s founders and early investors—including family members, employees and venture-capital firms—to sell some or all of their stakes and make money from their initial bets on the startup. It isn’t known how many might sell at the time of the IPO. The company has said it would allow its employees to sell up to 15% of their shares when it lists next month.
Airbnb’s leadership—including Mr. Chesky, the company’s chief executive—toyed with the idea of going public for several years. Some early investors and employees, a handful of whom are set to lose their stock options next year, were applying pressure on the CEO to take the company public so they could cash out. Airbnb had planned to make its widely anticipated debut earlier this year, but then the pandemic hit, hammering bookings in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
Airbnb’s debut is slated to come at the end of a year that has already broken records for IPO dollars raised, entering a market where investors largely have been bidding up shares of newly public companies.
Airbnb is expected to garner a valuation of roughly $30 billion in its offering, according to people familiar with the deal, though valuations can change until an offering is priced. Airbnb’s valuation fell to $18 billion when it raced to secure a loan as bookings fell during the pandemic earlier this year. It was valued at $31 billion in a 2017 investment round.
Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. closed its first day of trading last year at a valuation of $76 billion, lower than its priced offering. Its market capitalization is more than $85 billion today.
叫车巨头优步技术公司(Uber Technologies Inc.)。去年首日交易结束时，其估值为760亿美元，低于其定价。如今其市值已超过850亿美元。
Airbnb’s underwriting team, led by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., will give an initial allocation of shares to a mix of institutional investors, including mutual funds and hedge funds, and some individual investors, at a set price on the day before it starts trading on the Nasdaq exchange. Once Airbnb’s shares start trading, individual and institutional investors can buy the shares through a brokerage firm.
Airbnb的承销团队由摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)和高盛集团(Goldman Sachs Group Inc.)牵头，将在开始在纳斯达克交易所(Nasdaq Exchange)交易的前一天，以固定价格向包括共同基金和对冲基金在内的机构投资者以及一些个人投资者初始配售股票。一旦Airbnb的股票开始交易，个人和机构投资者就可以通过经纪公司购买股票。
The pandemic initially crushed the company’s business. Revenue in the three months that ended June 30 dropped 72% from the year-earlier period. The loss over the same period nearly doubled.
But business picked up in the three months ending Sept. 30, leading revenue to fall just 18% from the year-earlier period. An unforeseen pickup in local stays, combined with deep cost cuts, led the company to post a profit of $219 million over the period.
The June-September quarter is typically strong for the platform because of seasonal factors including summer vacations, and Airbnb has turned a profit in that period since 2018. The fact that it squeezed out a third-quarter profit this year is notable, but its future prospects will depend on whether it can turn other quarters and, eventually, an annual profit.
Mr. Chesky pivoted quickly to raising capital to keep the business afloat, laid off a quarter of staff and shed noncore businesses.
The CEO had drawn criticism for spending big before the pandemic. But he cut 54% of marketing costs through the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared with the year-earlier period. Total expenses over the period declined 22%.
Mr. Chesky separately ordered a redesign of Airbnb’s app and website so the company could focus on local stays during the pandemic—a strategy that paid off as people ventured into neighboring communities so they didn’t have to fly. Many users viewed staying in stand-alone properties as safer than using shared facilities in hotels. Mr. Chesky spoke to The Wall Street Journal last month about steering the company out of its worst crisis.
切斯基另外下令重新设计Airbnb的应用程序和网站，以便该公司可以在疫情爆发期间专注于当地住宿。随着人们冒险进入邻近社区，这样他们就不必乘坐飞机，这一策略获得了回报。许多用户认为，住在独立酒店比使用酒店的共享设施更安全。切斯基上个月接受《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)采访时谈到了带领公司走出最严重危机的问题。
Airbnb’s accumulated losses since its 2008 founding totaled $2.1 billion through Sept. 30.
It reported a loss of $697 million through the first nine months of this year, more than twice as much as in the year-earlier period, largely because of shrinking revenue earlier in the health crisis. Its $674 million loss last year was greater than its losses in the previous four years combined, as the company spent big on marketing and other administrative costs.
That said, most Silicon Valley startups are bleeding red ink when they go public. Airbnb’s combined losses are still a fraction of the $7.9 billion that Uber reported through 2018, the year before it went public. Uber was founded seven months after Airbnb.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be Airbnb’s biggest near-term challenge. Investors must also contend with risk factors such as cities weighing zoning restrictions on short-term rentals and Airbnb’s difficulties policing crime and promoting safety on its platform—a matter that is expected to draw more scrutiny as it becomes a public company. Airbnb is one of the few Silicon Valley startups with a presence in China, though the U.S. and Europe continue to be its biggest markets.
The company said a prolonged deterioration in U.S.-China relations could hurt its business. It also said it is subject to various requirements and requests from government agencies to share information about users of its platform in China. “We need to ensure that our business practices in China are compliant with local laws and regulations, which may be interpreted and enforced in ways that are different from our interpretation,” Airbnb has said.