In a turn of luck, Airbnb announced today that it has filed for an IPO, albeit confidential.
The move puts the home-sharing service on its way to a public offering sooner rather than later, and comes after reports the company was preparing to go public this month. The same reports indicated that Airbnb could go public as early as the end of the year.
A Q3 or Q4 Airbnb offer is therefore a clear option.
Airbnb has made a comeback since COVID-19-related shutdowns hit the travel market while boosting its revenue. Airbnb laid off nearly 2,000 workers and took over expensive capital from outside sources.
The company promised in 2019 that it would go public in 2020, but that promise seemed a long way off by mid-year. Since then, Airbnb has been making noise as different parts of its business have been brought back to life, although this has been changed by new travel, work and vacation patterns of its users.
If Airbnb filed, we can assume the results at hand are good enough to bring it to life, otherwise the company would not have filed and would have just gone public later. The question now begs is whether the Q2 numbers were good enough to get them out the door or whether the company intends to update its S-1 filing with Q3 numbers, move the filing live and with more recovery time in the results to go public.
Of course, such an approach would bring her public debut dangerously close to the American elections. Airbnb's Q2 numbers are not only down in terms of revenue from the first quarter, but even more markedly from last year's results for the same calendar period. In short, Airbnb's growth story may not be clear until the third quarter numbers are in a month and a half.
Airbnb is joining other companies that have privately filed, like DoorDash, waiting in the wings for the right time to go public or for the right results.
We'll see, but the company's public debut is again imminent. The question now arises as to whether Airbnb intends to go public in an IPO, as the wording of its filing seems to suggest, or whether a direct listing could still be included in the cards. We think the former is more likely than the latter, but in 2020 you never know.