On August 19th, Airbnb announced that it had confidentially submitted a draft Registration Statement on Form S-1 to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “relating to the proposed initial public offering of its common stock.” In other words, Airbnb is making a move to go public.
This initial step towards holding a public offering follows recent reports that Airbnb was preparing an IPO filing earlier this month, and that Airbnb could go public before the end of this year.
Now that the draft has been submitted, the company could go public as soon as Q3 or Q4. While the language in the filing appears to point toward an IPO, it is still unclear whether the company will hold a public offering or go for a direct listing.
Timing an IPO before the End of the Year Could Be a Challenge
The filing represents the fulfillment of Airbnb’s 2019 promise that it would go public in 2020, despite the fact that the company has suffered some heavy, COVID-related losses throughout the year.
Indeed, in spite of the havoc that COVID-19 has been wreaking on the hospitality and travel industry throughout this year, TechCrunch reported that Airbnb appears to have “mounted a comeback” since it laid off 2000 workers earlier in 2020. The company also “took on expensive capital from external sources” earlier this year.
However, the fact that Airbnb has submitted a draft filing for an IPO seems to indicate that the company’s numbers are good enough to ‘get it life’, according to TechCrunch. Still, it remains to be seen whether Airbnb will use its Q2 figures in the filing, or if it will update its submission with Q3’s results.
Although, waiting until Q3’s numbers have been finalized would mean that the company’s public offering would be awfully close to the United States presidential election, which could absorb some of the attention away from the offering.
Then again, Airbnb’s filing may only be a strategic move to poise the company for exactly the right moment. TechCrunch pointed out that Airbnb may be joining a list of companies that have filed privately, including DoorDash: companies that are “waiting in the wings for the right moment to go public, or the right set of results.”