Airbnb looks to raise new funding as its business plummets.
Airbnb, the home rental start-up, has been holding talks with investors about new funding as the spread of the coronavirus ravages its business ahead of its planned initial public offering.
The company, which is based in San Francisco, is valued at $31 billion by private investors. It began fielding unsolicited offers last week from venture capital firms, private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds, according to a person familiar with the situation. Offers have ranged from $100 million to $1 billion, the person said. Valuations have not yet been discussed.
The deal talks were first reported by CNBC.
Airbnb has not decided whether it will raise more funding, which could be used to snap up smaller competitors that are struggling amid the industry downturn, the person said. The company has $3 billion in cash on its balance sheet and access to another $1 billion line of credit.
In the past, Airbnb has turned a profit on its operations, unlike many of the cash-burning start-ups that went public last year and saw their stock prices fall as they struggled to make money. But the coronavirus has ground tourism to a halt in many parts of the world, putting Airbnb in a difficult position.
The company matches home rental operators with guests and takes a fee on the transaction. It recently announced that any guests wishing to cancel would get a full refund on their booking, providing relief to travelers but prompting ire from rental operators who rely on the income. In China, Airbnb established a $10 million fund to support its hosts.
On Tuesday Airbnb asked Congress for relief measures including low-interest loans for its rental operators.
Airbnb is under pressure to go public before some of its early employees shares begin to expire later this year. Last fall, it announced it would go public in 2020. It has retained Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to advise on the deal.