Wall Street has been waiting for the initial public offering of Airbnb, one of the hottest Silicon Valley startups. When Dave Stephenson, a longtime Amazon vice president, joined Airbnb in November, the market’s hopes were seemingly confirmed.
The share sale was expected as early as June, TechCrunch reported last year. But the wait may be longer.
“We have already said that we are taking the steps to be ready to go public in 2019. That doesn’t mean we will go public in 2019,” Nathan Blecharczyk, an Airbnb cofounder, told Business Insider in an email interview.
The 10-year-old startup is a marketplace for travelers seeking accommodation, offering over 6 million places to stay in more than 81,000 cities and 191 countries, according to the company’s website.
“We have not decided if we will go public in 2019, and our focus is on building a 21st-century company, and we’re all committed to that goal,” Blecharczyk added.
While he did not elaborate on reasons for a delay, IPOs have been off to a slow start in 2019.
Globally, companies have raised only $5.4 billion this year, down by 78% from the same period a year ago, the South China Morning Post reported last month, citing a report by the global financial-data provider Dealogic.
A variety of reasons, from the uncertainties of Britain’s painfully protracted exit from the European Union to the US-China trade war, have hurt investors’ appetite for risk, Dealogic said, per the Post.
In the US, companies aspiring to go public have faced added challenges. The government shutdown early this year limited the staff strength at the Securities and Exchange Commission, slowing the market regulator’s review of IPO registration documents.
“It’s a direct reflection of the government shutdown,” Jackie Kelley, the Americas IPO leader at EY, told CNN last month.
Further, investors have been shy of risk since the global market sell-off at the end of 2018. Stocks like Snap and Spotify had lost a lot of value by the year’s end.
While the rest of the market has since rebounded, “IPO investors are pretty price-sensitive right now,” Kathleen Smith, a principal at Renaissance Capital, told CNN.
Other major IPOs expected on Wall Street this year include Uber, Lyft, Slack, and Pinterest.