Airbnb to become publicly traded company next year

Short-term rental company Airbnb says it plans to go public next year and list its shares on the stock exchange.

The company made the announcement in a news release on Thursday, but declined to offer any details about what stock exchange it would list on or how much money it plans to raise in the process.

It would make the company the latest in the so-called “sharing economy” to make the move to go public, following ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft, and the forthcoming initial public offering (IPO) by office space company WeWork later this year.

The IPOs of Uber and Lyft slumped after going public, with investors questioning the two companies’ growth potential along with lack of profitability.

WeWork has similarly been hit hard by scrutiny over its finances and fears the company may never turn a profit.

Airbnb, which allows online rental bookings of unused rooms and properties to people looking for short-term stays, has disrupted the hotel and tourism industry in the decade since it was founded in San Francisco in 2008.

Users of Airbnb pay property owners for their short-term stays, similar to the way hotels work, and the company takes a percentage of each deal as its fee.

This week, the company said it took in more than $1 billion US in revenue for the second quarter of 2019, but has declined to say if it is profitable. It has previously said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was positive for 2017 and 2018.

The company has also faced backlash in numerous places where it operates. It has been accused of helping property owners avoid paying income taxes on rental income and disrupting rental market balances, and has been accused of fraud and abuse.