International online accommodation booking giant Airbnb opened trading on the Nasdaq today with its share price kicking off at US$146 giving the company a market cap of over US$87 billion.
The US$146 share price was far above the initial public offering (IPO) price of US$68 apiece that raised $3.5 billion for the company. The stock hit a high of US$165, rising 142.6 per cent after the debut and taking the home rental firm’s value to US$101.6 billion in the biggest U.S. flotation of 2020 and capping a bumper year that saw investors flock to tech darlings.
Despite the perniciousness of the COVID-19 virus, Airbnb has managed to maintain investors’ interest, and it is seen as a long-term bet.
Airbnb now has a higher market value than the Marriott and Hilton hotel brands as well as Expedia.
Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO, has said that when the virus first started spreading across the world in spring, Airbnb was severely impacted because people were not traveling. He explained that his company had to make some nimble adjustments to its model and come up with local and national targeting strategies.
“Now that people are coming to Airbnb, they don’t even necessarily have a destination in mind or dates because they are flexible. We’re all obviously on Zoom and so people are saying, ‘I want to go anywhere 300 miles around me, what can you show me?’
“Now we’re going to be getting a bit more into the game of inspiration and matching people to the perfect home experience for them,” Chesky told CNBC.
He explained that the IPO route was the obvious path because it is possibly the best way to tell the company’s story when people are thinking about purchasing stock, that way they know what they are buying. Chesky added that the company is built on gaining customers’ trust and ensuring that their safety is of paramount concern.
Airbnb has a presence in 200 countries around the world and has built a global brand.
For the three months ending September 30, 2020 Airbnb reported an 18 per cent increase in revenues to US$1.34 billion, generating a profit of US$219 million.
“In light of the evolving nature of COVID-19 and the uncertainty it has produced around the world we do not believe it is possible to predict COVID-19’s cumulative and ultimate impact on our future business, results of operations and financial condition.
“COVID -19 has materially adversely affected our recent operating and financial results and is continuing to materially adversely impact our long-term operating financial results,” read Airbnb’s S-1 filing.