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Report: Airbnb’s highly anticipated IPO could still happen in 2020

Home-sharing startup Airbnb is quietly moving forward with its plans to file for an initial public offering, WSJ reports.

Report: Airbnb’s highly anticipated IPO could still happen in 2020
[Photo: Joel Filipe/Unsplash]

You didn’t think Airbnb was going to let a little something like unmitigated disruption to the global travel industry stop it from going public, did you?

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On the contrary: The home-sharing startup is quietly moving forward with its plans to file for an IPO, The Wall Street Journal reports, and it could be a publicly traded company by the end of 2020.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Airbnb was widely expected to go public this year. The company at its peak was reportedly valued at $31 billion, and unlike many cash-burning tech startups that have come before it, Airbnb proved it could turn its business model into real profit.

But as travel plans around the world were dashed by COVID-19, Airbnb’s plans changed too. The company announced a dramatic downsizing in early May, laying off about 25% of its staff and refocusing its efforts on its core home-sharing product.

According to WSJ, which cites anonymous sources, Airbnb will file paperwork to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission this month, although it still may not follow through with the IPO. Morgan Stanley is expected to lead the effort.

Airbnb declined to comment on the report.

After a series of disappointing IPOs last year culminated with a humiliating implosion at WeWork—which never actually made it to the public markets—2020 has seen a surprising resurgence of tech-oriented offerings. Insurance sales platform Lemonade and marketing data firm Zoominfo are among a handful of newly public companies that have attracted investor interest in recent months.

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About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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