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Told of Opening Price, Airbnb Boss Is Stumped

Company's valuation more than doubles for IPO
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2020 4:19 PM CST

(Newser) – In preparing for its IPO, Airbnb priced its shares at $68. The stock price doubled in premarket trading to open Thursday on the Nasdaq at $146, a development that company co-founder and chief executive officer was not prepared for, Fast Company reports. That puts Airbnb at a market cap of about $86.5 billion per CNBC. Brian Chesky was being interviewed live on Bloomberg TV when he heard the news, and his shock showed as he stumbled a bit to respond. "That's the first time I've heard that number," Chesky said. "In April we raised money. ... It was a debt financing. ... That price would have priced us around 30 bucks. So I don’t know what else to say ... I’m very humbled by it."

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That market cap surpasses that of travel companies including Booking and Expedia, as well as hotel chains such as Hilton and Marriott. Delta Air Lines is valued around $30 billion. Although revenue dropped last quarter from the year before, and despite the pandemic slowdown, Airbnb still posted a $219 million profit. The home-sharing company's IPO performance—and DoorDash's the day before—is a switch from last year, when WeWork's parent withdrew its IPO and Uber's was less than an overwhelming success, per Reuters. That adds pressure for companies tentatively planning to go public in 2021, including Robinhood and Instacart. (The company laid off one-fourth of its staff earlier in the pandemic.)

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