Home-sharing giant Airbnb bumped its share price up to $68 heading into its stock market debut Thursday, putting the San Francisco-based company in a position to raise about $3.7 billion, the Wall Street Journal and other outlets reported.
The offering, whose share price is far higher than the range Airbnb had previously indicated, gives the rental platform a market value of about $47 billion, the Journal reported.
The company, which will be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol “ABNB,” said in a filing with securities regulators that its home-sharing model proved resilient during the global pandemic, as it posted a profit for the just-ended quarter.
“People wanted to get out of their homes and yearned to travel, but they did not want to go far or to be in crowded hotel lobbies,” the document said.
“Our platform has proven adaptable to serve these new ways of traveling.”
Airbnb delivered a $219 million profit in the three months ending in September, but nonetheless lost $697 million in the first nine months of the year amid a 32 percent revenue drop as the Covid-19 outbreak crushed the travel sector.
But Airbnb said its unique business model has proven to be valuable both for hosts and travelers seeking safe environments or even remote work havens during the global health crisis.
The 13-year-old company is confident it will thrive over time.
“We believe that as the world recovers from this pandemic, Airbnb will be a vital source of economic empowerment for millions of people,” a filing said.
Airbnb recently implemented new safety protocols for many of its hosts and maintains that listings meeting its upgraded guidelines are safer than hotels during the pandemic.
The platform now has more than four million listings in countries around the world and has served more than 825 million bookings.
New Constructs research firm said Airbnb “has a plausible path to profitability and growth” if it can contain costs while expanding its global footprint.
Airbnb’s decision to raise its opening share price came amid a dizzying initial public offering by DoorDash, whose shares priced at $102 surged more than 80 percent out of the gate, ending the formal trading day at $189.51.
Airbnb and DoorDash stock market debuts this week are part of a “unicorn parade” capping a busy year for hot startups going public.
Unicorn startups — valued in the billions — are poised to take advantage of a market hungry for young businesses promising fast growth, with some capitalizing on lifestyle changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There have been 420 IPOs on US markets so far this year, some 88 percent more that at this point a year earlier, according to StockAnalysis.com.
Startups are taking advantage of the moment to raise money while their business models look promising and the market is eager for opportunities, according to analysts.
“It is a case of striking while the iron is hot, because there is going to be a market correction,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group.
“You want to do an IPO and get your money before that happens.”
A key question is whether these emerging firms represent the future or are just a flash in the pan.
Some analysts say the pandemic has distorted the economy and that it’s too soon to know how the firms will fare.