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Airbnb to make IPO filing next week, braving COVID-19 surge: source

A woman talks on the phone at the Airbnb office headquarters in the SOMA district of San Francisco, California, U.S., August 2, 2016. REUTERS/Gabrielle Lurie/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. home rental company Airbnb Inc plans to make its initial public offering (IPO) registration public as early next week, setting course for a stock market debut next month even as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The IPO filing will give outsiders their first detailed look into Airbnb’s business. It will shed light on the company’s reinvention after the virus outbreak pushed it to shift focus from city apartments to holiday home rentals. It has seen demand for house listings surge as vacationers snub hotels to practice social distancing during vacation breaks.

The United States set a one-day record for new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with at least 102,591 new infections reported, according to a Reuters tally.

Aibnb plans to set an IPO price range and kick off an investor roadshow in December, the source said, cautioning that the timing is subject to market conditions.

The U.S. election diminished uncertainty for IPO hopefuls this week, as the prospect of a divided government that would not raise taxes fueled a stock market rally. The CBOE volatility index, a gauge for short-term volatility that is closely monitored by IPO candidates, has hit a two-week low after spiking to a four-month high in the run-up to the election.

Airbnb is set to be one of the largest stock market listings of 2020 in what is already a blockbuster year for IPOs. The likes of record label Warner Music Group, data analytics firm Palantir Technologies and data warehouse company Snowflake Inc went public this year.

Reuters reported last month that Airbnb was aiming to raise around $3 billion, and that it could achieve a valuation of more than $30 billion in the IPO.

It would follow a dramatic recovery from earlier this year. Airbnb secured emergency funding from investors, including Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, in April, amid the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said in July that customers had booked more than one million nights in a single day for the first time since March 3.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Boston. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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