Airbnb prices shares at USD 68 ahead of Thursday IPO

Thirteen years after its founders first rented air mattresses in their San Francisco apartment, Airbnb is making its long-awaited stock market debut.

The home sharing company priced its shares at USD 68 apiece late Wednesday, giving it an overall value of USD 47 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction who was not authorized to speak because the amount had not yet been made public.

Starting Thursday, the shares will trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol ABNB. Airbnb raised USD 3.7 billion in the offering, making it the largest US IPO this year, according to Renaissance Capital, which tracks IPOs.

Airbnb had initially set a price range of USD 44 to USD 50 for it shares, but raised that to a range of USD 56 to USD 60 earlier this week, indicating rising investor demand.

Airbnb’s listing comes a day after another San Francisco-based company, DoorDash, soared through its initial public offering.

Its stock jumped 85.8 per cent to close at USD 189.51 after the company priced shares at USD 102 each, raising USD 3.4 billion with its offering. Like DoorDash, Airbnb has never posted an annual profit.

Patrick Corrigan, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in IPOs, said the investor reaction to DoorDash bodes well for Airbnb.

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The company, which has 7.4 million listings, wants to add more hosts and properties and expand in markets like India, China and Latin America.

Airbnb initially planned its IPO for the spring but shelved it when the pandemic ground global travel to a halt.

The company’s revenue fell 32 per cent to USD 2.5 billion in the first nine months of this year as the coronavirus forced travelers to cancel their plans.

But in the months since, Airbnb’s business has rebounded faster than hotels, with many people feeling safer booking private homes outside of crowded downtowns.

Airbnb said the number of nights and experiences booked, which plummeted 72 per cent in April compared to year-ago levels, were down 20 per cent in September.

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