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Airbnb stock price more than doubles in blockbuster IPO

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Airbnb stock price more than doubles in blockbuster IPO 1

Airbnb’s stock price more than doubled Thursday in a blockbuster market debut that capped the vacation-rental giant’s comeback from the coronavirus crisis.

Airbnb’s shares started trading on the Nasdaq at $146 apiece and soared as high as $165, marking a roughly 143 percent surge from the listing price of $68.

The San Francisco-based company was recently trading at a market value of more than $109 billion — more than twice the roughly $47 billion valuation that was anticipated after it raised $3.5 billion from the IPO.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky was speechless Thursday morning when a TV interviewer told him the firm’s share price was poised to more than double.

“I’m very humbled by it,” Chesky said on Bloomberg Television. “Today is a very special day for everyone, but the higher the stock price, the higher [the] expectations, the harder we’re going to be working, obviously.”

Airbnb had put its highly anticipated IPO on hold in the spring as the coronavirus spread around the world, leading to a drop in bookings on the platform amid lockdowns that scuttled travel plans.

But the 12-year-old company forged ahead and pulled out one of the year’s biggest offerings for a US company after cutting costs and turning around the business over the summer, helped by travelers who sought out rental homes for safe getaways after weeks of hunkering down at home.

Airbnb’s focus on leisure travel, combined with a business model that’s light on assets, have put it in a stronger position than the pandemic-battered hotel industry, said Rob Goldstein of CenterSquare Investment Management, an $11 billion real estate investment firm that participated in the IPO.

“Airbnb has a global opportunity to capitalize on pent up demand from leisure travelers anxious to take their holidays and vacations in a post-COVID vaccine world,” Goldstein said. “Longer term, we believe that this type of leisure travel will rebound far more quickly than business travel, which will lag considerably as video conferencing will become more of the new normal as opposed to a necessary evil.”

Airbnb was the latest in a string of big-name Silicon Valley companies to go public this year. Its listing came a day after food-delivery giant DoorDash saw its shares surge nearly 86 percent in its Wednesday market debut.

With Post wires

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