Airbnb boosts IPO price range in sign of frenzied investor appetite

FILE PHOTO: 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) -Airbnb Inc expects to raise up to $3.09 billion in its initial public offering after boosting its price range, setting it up for a blockbuster debut 13 years after it was founded as a website in a loft that went on to revolutionize the hospitality industry.

The U.S. home rental firm plans to sell 51.6 million shares at between $56 and $60 apiece, it said in a regulatory filing on Monday. It had earlier targeted a price range of between $44 and $50 per share for 51.9 million shares.

At the upper end of the new range, Airbnb would have a fully diluted valuation, which includes securities such as options and restricted stock units, of $41.8 billion.

This is well above the $18 billion Airbnb was worth in an April private fundraising round in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, and above the $31 billion in its last pre-coronavirus fundraising in 2017.

Airbnb struggled in the immediate aftermath of the virus outbreak as travel came to a grinding halt. But as lockdowns eased, more travelers opted to book homes instead of hotels, helping Airbnb post a surprise profit for the third quarter.

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