Coronavirus fears could delay Airbnb’s planned initial public offering until next year.
According to Bloomberg, the online-rentals firm has been working toward an IPO and was looking to start the process around March or April.
But anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter told the publication it could get pushed back with the virus continuing to spread. At least 86,000 people have been infected by it and more than 3,000 have been killed, with the large majority of cases and deaths having taken place in China.
Airbnb has faced difficulties of late, reportedly losing $322 million in the first nine months of 2019 compared with a $200 million profit during the same period a year prior.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb provides a platform that connects people willing to rent out their homes to guests looking for cheap accommodation, collecting a fee of about 15% from guests and hosts. To date, it has more than 7 million listings in more than 100,000 cities across more than 200 countries and regions.
But it’s possible Airbnb’s rapid ascent to global popularity is a problem in itself. The firm is struggling to scale prudently, having spent $150 million on improving the safety of its platform, triggered by the discovery of scam listings and bad guest behavior. It’s also incurred increased overhead expenses and sales and marketing costs.
Airbnb isn’t the only major firm contemplating coronavirus-induced IPO delays. Other companies reported to have put their IPOs on hold because of the coronavirus include the recording-label giant Warner Music Group and the major private-equity firm Carlyle Group.
Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.