Will Airbnb IPO or What?

We don’t think COVID has made the intended public offering impossible

Andrew Willis 13 July, 2020 | 1:09AM
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Andrew Willis: 2020 has been impeccably bad timing for real estate related IPOs. Like it did with WeWork, COVID crashed the party on communal spaces this year, crushing demand for home-sharing right as AirBnb is expected to go public.

That doesn’t mean Airbnb has the same fate as WeWork. While working from home may have become a new norm, vacations aren’t changing. Senior equity analyst Dan Wasiolek sees travel demand fully recovering, as it did after past crises like the Great Financial Crisis, or 9/11.

When it comes to the AirBnB IPO, though, there could be less enthusiasm, at least initially. Uncertainties around COVID-19 have reduced investor appetite for IPOs broadly, and stocks in the travel industry have been hit. In response, Airbnb’s market expansion plans into other revenue streams, like hotels, have reportedly been put on hold.

But there are other forces within the company to consider. The IPO goal may at least in part be due to employee stock options expiring this year – and that’s a tough deadline to miss.

And things could easily change yet AGAIN by the end of this year. We’re already seeing US vacation rentals posting year-over-year growth, since May! Investors might not be interested in the travel sector right now – but just wait until they get back from holidays.

For Morningstar, I’m Andrew Willis.

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About Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis  is Senior Editor at Morningstar Canada. He previously produced content for Fidelity Investments and finance industry events for Euromoney Institutional Investor and has written in the past for Thomson Reuters and CNN. Follow him on Twitter @Andrew_M_Willis.

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