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Airbnb announces plan to go public in 2020, ending months of speculation

Home rentals site lays out much-anticipated plans for listing

Hosts have made more than $80bn on bookings made through the site since it was founded ( Getty )

Airbnb has said it intends to become a publicly traded company in 2020, in what will be one of the most high-profile listings of the year.

The announcement brings to an end months of speculation about when the company that has upended the hotels and home rental markets might finally go public.

This week, Airbnb reported that its revenues had topped $1bn (£800m) in the second quarter of 2019.

Hosts have made more than $80bn on bookings made through the site since it started. However, Airbnb declined to mention whether the company itself had made a profit this quarter.

Airbnb’s most recent funding round valued the firm at $31bn but investors have increasingly cooled on much-hyped tech companies this year.

Shares in taxi companies Uber and Lyft, which both floated this year, are languishing well below their respective IPO prices.

Flexible office space provider WeWork was forced to shelve its IPO this week after scant interest – and no little criticism – from Wall Street, even after it slashed its valuation.

Unlike WeWork, Airbnb has not had to deal with questions over the viability of its business model, but it faces a variety of legal obstacles in a number of the locations where it operates.

Paris and Barcelona are among dozens of cities that have enacted tough restrictions on what properties can be rented via Airbnb and by whom.

Last year, Barcelona authorities ordered Airbnb to remove 2,577 listings that were found to be operating without the correct licence from the city.

In 2015, Paris launched a crackdown on homes deemed to be specifically used for the purposes of Airbnb rentals, rather than owner-occupied properties that were occasionally rented out.

Topic: #airbnb
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