In brief: Airbnb has been planning an IPO for the first half of 2020, but it may have procrastinated for too long. As shares of its rivals drop in response to cancelled travel bookings due to coronavirus concerns, it looks like the company may be forced to wait a little longer still.
Cole Haan and Warner Music Group have both postponed their initial public offerings that were scheduled for this week over fear on the risks of coronavirus infection during in-person meetings. It's becoming increasingly unlikely that any of this year's most anticipated IPOs will happen as planned.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Airbnb's IPO is also at risk of being pushed back to a later date. The company has been looking to make its stock market debut sometime in March or April, but now that timeline is no longer realistic in the context of international travel restrictions and canceled bookings.
The timing of the IPO would have been perfect, were it not for the coronavirus crisis. And that's because investors burned by the relatively poor performance of other public offerings in the recent past are really excited about Airbnb's intentions to prove that it values its stakeholders and that it's interested in growing in an ethical way, despite that being slower.
So far the company has maintained its message that it intends to be publicly traded in 2020. Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas did, however, acknowledge that "the coronavirus outbreak is causing travel restrictions and other disruptions that have a direct impact on the travel and tourism sector and beyond."
Airbnb is set apart from other would-be publicly traded companies by the fact that it hasn't needed to raise new cash for the last two years. The home-sharing company's co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky isn't known as a big source of scandals like former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, not to mention more able to deal with difficult situations when compared to WeWork's Adam Neumann.