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Thu 19 Sep 2019 07:03 PM

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Airbnb announces plans to go public in 2020

Internet home stay company says it will make stock market debut next year

Airbnb announces plans to go public in 2020
Launched in 2008, the company, which operates in Dubai, is considered a "unicorn," or a startup valued at more than $1 billion.

Internet home stay company Airbnb said Thursday it plans to make its stock market debut next year but offered few details.

Launched in 2008, the company, which operates in Dubai, is considered a "unicorn," or a startup valued at more than $1 billion even before its initial public offering and has disrupted the hotel and travel industry.

The stock launch comes in the wake of other highly anticipated Wall Street launches for companies in the "gig" economy, which have not been resounding successes.

Ride-hailing service Uber is down about 24 percent since the start of trading, and office sharing firm WeWork this week delayed its IPO as its valuation tumbled.

Investors have begun to question the business models for these startups, with many burning through capital and struggling to convince markets they can turn the corner.

The San Francisco-based Airbnb offers lodging at more than six million unique locations in nearly 100,000 cities and 191 countries, according to the its website.

The company has sought to diversify in recent years, attempting to branch out into restaurant reservations and "experiences," in which third-parties can offer local activities in addition to lodging.

The company's rise has provoked stern opposition in some places where activists and municipalities say it undermines the hotel industry and squeezes supplies on rental and real estate markets, driving up costs and making cities less affordable.

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