Airbnb Inc. is raising US$1 billion in debt and equity securities from investors Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners. The funding is an effort by Airbnb to shore up its finances after its business was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic that slammed the global travel industry.
The company had been slated to go public this year, but the global public health crisis has made those plans less certain. Airbnb did not disclose the terms of the deal in its announcement Monday, raising questions about whether it was able to maintain the US$31 billion valuation it had before the crisis.
“The new resources will support Airbnb’s ongoing work to invest over the long term in its community of hosts who share their homes and experiences, as well as the work to serve all stakeholders in the Airbnb community,” the company said in a statement.
Bloomberg reported last week that the company was in talks to raise money from investors as it weighed its options in response to the pandemic. Morgan Stanley worked as a financial adviser to Airbnb, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
Even before the pandemic, Airbnb wasn’t consistently turning a profit. In the final three months of last year, Airbnb reported a loss of US$276 million excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. That’s compared with a loss of US$144 million a year earlier, Bloomberg has reported. Revenue increased 32 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to US$1.1 billion. Earlier this year, before the fundraising round, Airbnb had more than US$2 billion in the bank, along with a US$1 billion credit facility.
The home-sharing company has struggled to appease guests and hosts amid the crisis. At first, the company resisted forcing hosts to issue refunds for guests traveling in the U.S. until after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic. Then, hosts complained that Airbnb was exacerbating an already painful financial situation for them. So Airbnb created a US$250 million fund to help hosts who lost money from coronavirus-related cancellations.