How Airbnb blew its own trumpet pre-IPO

Last week regulators pulled the plug on the initial public offering (IPO) of Ant Group. The Chinese internet finance giant’s $34 billion stock debut in Shanghai and Hong Kong would have brought in more cash than Saudi Aramco.

Another high-profile IPO is going ahead this year though. That’s after it was announced Airbnb will likely make its stock market debut in December, as reported by Reuters. The IPO could set a $30 billion valuation for the company and raise $3 billion in proceeds.

There had been speculation that Airbnb would delay its public float to 2021 as coronavirus sent shivers through the market. The pandemic also disrupted the start of their high profile partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after the Tokyo 2020 games had to be rescheduled.

The online-rental firm signed a deal worth a reported $500 million to support the Olympic Movement through to 2028. The nine-year, five-Games partnership provides economic opportunities for athletes to develop revenue streams through Airbnb ‘Olympian Experiences’ and also allows hundreds of thousands of Airbnb hosts to support and participate in the Olympic Movement. However, it also provides something else;

The partnership was intended to boost their valuation. As Dan Tunna (a Sports Pundit reader) previously told The Drum, the deal offers them “global brand exposure at a time when Airbnb is preparing for an IPO and in desperate need of a good news story to improve its perception, reputation and credibility.”

Airbnb aren’t the only ones using this strategy, either. Darktrace, the ‘official AI Cyber security partner’ of McLaren F1, for example, is reported to be working on a blockbuster London IPO. There is no doubt the relationships Formula One could offer them, particularly among the tech industry, were central to their thinking when they formed the partnership.


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