Airbnb Raises $1 Billion to Ride Out the Pandemic

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Airbnb has scored $1 billion in combined debt and equity to help it weather the pandemic, from Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, the company announced. 

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Like all travel companies, Airbnb’s revenues have been decimated by the coronavirus outbreak and resulting shutdowns. 

In response to the crisis, Airbnb, which had planned to go public in 2020, froze all hiring, cut its $800 million marketing budget, and its CEO, Brian Chesky, announced that the company would spend $250 million to reimburse hosts for cancelled bookings.  

Given the new reality, the vacation rental marketplace plans to shift its focus to longer-term stays and local experiences, according to its announcement.

“The desire to connect and travel is an enduring human truth that’s only been reinforced during our time apart. But the way this manifests will evolve as the world changes,” the company wrote in its statement. 

Airbnb had already begun to make a play for the extended-stay place, with its investment in furnished rental companies Lyric and Zeus Living, as well as its acquisition of Urbandoor, a business travel marketplace in 2019.

Airbnb has a valuation of $26 billion, down from a high of $31 billion, according to the New York Times. It also already had $3 billion in cash on its balance sheet and access to a $1 billion credit line, per the Times