Airbnb was expected to be one of the most-anticipated of upcoming IPOs. But everyone may just have to wait a bit as the company digests a significant new acquisition.
Airbnb is now signaling that it will not go public this year, despite the initial public offering buzz that has surrounded the company since early last year.
“We have already said that we are taking the steps to be ready to go public in 2019, that doesn’t mean we will go public in 2019,” Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk told Business Insider in an email interview Wednesday.
The homesharing company never explicitly said it would file for IPO this year, but that has not stopped expectation from mounting from media and industry watchers. At a conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California last May, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky stated that the company would “be ready” for an IPO in 2019, but added that nothing was certain.
“We will be ready to IPO next year, but I don’t know if we will,” he said. “We have investors who are really patient and I want to make sure it’s a benefit [to them] when we do.”
One reason Airbnb may want to take more time before it goes public is to sort through its hotel strategy, particularly now after its acquisition of HotelTonight. Clearly executives may want to work through a key strategic initiative, without the public glare of a highly anticipated IPO.
Buzz around a possible Airbnb IPO started to take off in January of last year, after the home-sharing app completed a full year of profitability and appointed former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to its board. Chenault became the the company’s first independent director, and many saw his appointment as a signal that Airbnb was shifting towards becoming a public company
Airbnb CEO Chesky announced Chenault in an open letter, where he discussed his vision of Airbnb as a “21st Century Company,” discussing how it would evolve over time.
In the letter, Chesky did not directly mention an IPO, but said that the app “will have an infinite time horizon.”
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Photo credit: Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, speaking in February 2018. Airbnb