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Airbnb has reportedly dropped its internal valuation to $26 billion as the coronavirus halts travel worldwide

Airbnb has reportedly dropped its internal valuation to $26 billion as the coronavirus halts travel worldwide
Airbnb has reportedly dropped its internal valuation to $26 billion as the coronavirus halts travel worldwide

Airbnb lowered its internal valuation by 16% as it faces a sharp decline in bookings due to the coronavirus, according to the Financial Times.

Airbnb lowered its internal valuation to $26 billion as the short-term rental company deals with a sharp drop in bookings due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

That's a 16% drop from the $31 billion valuation Airbnb received at its most recent private fundraising round, according to PitchBook.

Employees were informed of the new valuation by CEO Brian Chesky at a company-wide meeting on Thursday, acccording to the Financial Times.

The travel industry has been hit especially hard by the spread of the coronavirus disease, Airbnb included. Data from vacation rental market research firm AirDNA showed that Airbnb bookings in Beijing dropped 96% from January to March as the virus spread throughout China, while bookings in Rome, Italy, and Seoul, South Korea, saw drops of 41% and 46% — and the economic fallout could continue for months.

Airbnb had also been struggling even before the outbreak, reportedly losing $322 million in the first nine months of 2019 compared with a $200 million profit during the same period a year prior.

The decline in bookings and concerns among investors about the company's profitability have raised the possibilty that Airbnb could delay its plans to go public in 2020, with sources telling Bloomberg that timeline could get pushed back due to coronavirus fears.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky promised hosts earlier this week that the company's business will bounce back following the coronavirus pandemic, saying that it has weathered crises before.

"We are going to weather this storm," Chesky said in his video message. "We are going to get through this together. There's going to be a huge amount of business on the other side."

However, Chesky's comments come as hosts have seen business drop sharply in recent weeks, and many have criticized Airbnb for leaving them bearing most of the financial burden. In response, Airbnb has set aside $260 million to reimburse hosts for cancelled reservations, but some hosts were unimpressed, telling Business Insider that the fund will only cover a portion of lost revenue and some property managers may see no benefit at all.

Airbnb also successfully lobbied Congress to pass a collection of tax relief and loan-related proposals targeted at its property-manager customers, which the company said could help some hosts.

Airbnb did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Read the original article on Business Insider
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