ABNB begins buying and selling on the Nasdaq

The NASDAQ market page will display an AirBnb sign on their billboard on the day of their IPO in Times Square in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City, New York, United States, on December 10, 2020.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Airbnb is set to double its share price by its IPO debut on Thursday at the latest in a wave of hotly anticipated tech IPOs in a year that has been tumultuous due to the pandemic.

The shares were priced at $ 68 on Wednesday and are expected to hit $ 155.50 when the stock starts trading, according to early signs prior to initial trading. That would value the company at nearly $ 93 billion on a non-diluted basis. Airbnb is traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker “ABNB”.

The stock is expected to trade around 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time, a well-placed source CNBC’s Leslie Picker said. Speculation that it would join one of the major indexes in the next few years seems to be sparking interest, the source said.

The company is going public at a time when the sector was hit by reduced travel trends during the public health crisis. Revenue last quarter was down nearly 19% to $ 1.34 billion year over year. But it still managed to make a profit of $ 219 million, and there were other intermittently profitable quarters as well.

While travel was less, Airbnb managed to find a sweet spot for those willing to hit the road who prefer home stays over traditional hotels. That could change when vaccines make travel more accessible again, possibly as early as late next year.

Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky said in an interview with CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa on the Thursday ahead of its IPO that the platform is considering changing the way travelers want to plan their trips as remote working is an option for many.

“Now that people come to Airbnb, they don’t even necessarily have a destination or dates in mind because they’re flexible. We’re all obviously zoomed in, and that’s why people say, ‘I want to go anywhere 300 miles around me around, what can you show me? ‘”he said. “Now we’re going to dig a little more into the game of inspiration and tune people into the perfect home experience for them.”

Chesky also said he wasn’t too concerned about the rating.

“I don’t think I’ll be more concerned than I did in April and May when our business fell 80% in eight weeks in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.

Airbnb struggled with complaints from hosts on its platform at the beginning of the pandemic, when the company indulged guest cancellations, leaving hosts with no expected payments. A Texas-based host filed a class action lawsuit against the company last month alleging that Airbnb breached its contract with hosts by offering the refunds. Airbnb called the lawsuit “frivolous and without merit” in a statement at the time.

As part of its IPO, Airbnb set up a Host Endowment Fund made up of 9.2 million non-voting shares. Airbnb said in its IPO prospectus that the fund would benefit hosts through programs and grants.

“We want hosts to share in our success, not just for a moment, but as long as Airbnb exists in the world,” the company wrote. “We intend that the Host Endowment Fund will be a long-term investment in the future of our hosting community, built by hosts for hosts.”

Airbnb was listed eight times on CNBC’s annual Disruptor 50 list and ranks 41st in 2020 Disruptor 50 companies.

This story evolves. Check for updates again.

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