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Monday, January 25, 2021

Airbnb hikes share price ahead of expected IPO this week

By DEE-ANN DURBIN, AP News.

Airbnb has raised the price of its shares ahead of its initial public offering this week, betting investors will pay more given its resiliency during the pandemic.

In a government filing Monday, Airbnb said it expects to price its shares between $56 and $60 each, up from a range of $44 to $50 earlier this month. Airbnb is expected to issue a final share price late Wednesday ahead of its Thursday IPO on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The new price would let the San Francisco-based home sharing company raise up to $3.4 billion in the offering.

It would give Airbnb a valuation of $42 billion. That’s more than double the $18 billion the company was valued at during a private fundraising round in the spring, when the pandemic shut down global travel and its prospects were uncertain.

Scott Rostan, the CEO of Training the Street, said Airbnb is benefiting from optimism about vaccine news. The company has also come through the pandemic better than hotels and even its home-sharing rivals. Rostan said Airbnb’s revenue was down 32% compared to 2019 through the third quarter, while Booking.com and Expedia — which owns VRBO — both reported declines of more than 50%.

Airbnb also got leaner and refocused on home sharing during the pandemic. In May, the company cut 1,900 jobs and ended projects not directly related to its core business, like movie production.

Airbnb has more than 7 million listings on its platform, run by 4 million hosts worldwide.

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