Airbnb Files for IPO Amid Threats of Lockdown

Short-term rental company Airbnb moves to go public even as renewed pandemic surge drives travel slowdowns.

Airbnb Inc. filed to go public Monday in a widely anticipated move that comes even as it struggles amid a renewed pandemic-driven travel slowdown.

The company plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker ABNB.

Airbnb, which connects hosts with renters over its online platform, repeatedly cited the impact of COVID-19 in its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"COVID-19 has materially adversely affected our recent operating and financial results and is continuing to materially adversely impact our long-term operating and financial results,” the company said in the filing. “However, we believe that as the world recovers from this pandemic, Airbnb will be a vital source of economic empowerment for millions of people.”

Airbnb’s filing came on a banner day for Wall Street, as both the S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials set record closing highs on optimism over initial results of Moderna’s  (MRNA) - Get Report third-phase coronavirus vaccine trials which showed 94.5% effectiveness.

Nevertheless, “During the fourth quarter of 2020, another wave of COVID-19 infections emerged. As a result, countries imposed strict lockdowns, in particular in Europe. Similar to the impact of the initial COVID-19 wave in March 2020, we are seeing a decrease in bookings in the most affected regions,” Airbnb said in the filing.

Through the first nine months of the year, the company said it had lost $697 million on revenue of $2.5 billion, vs. a loss of $323 million on revenue of $3.7 billion over the first nine months of 2019.

Airbnb slashed staff and took out $2 billion in term loans last spring as the first wave of the pandemic took hold.