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The new funding from Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners comes after the travel and hospitality industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Airbnb instituted a hiring freeze and suspended marketing to reduce costs, according to The Information.
The company’s goal when the travel industry recovers is to focus on its hosts, long-term stays and Airbnb Experiences, according to a statement from Airbnb.
“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,” CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement. “We’ll see a new flexibility in how people live and work, which means they won’t have to be tethered to one location. And with an emerging interest in travel that’s closer to home, our customers will look to nearby places to visit, and for local experiences to take part in.”
Airbnb said last year that it would go public in 2020, although it’s unclear if it will stick to that plan. The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the markets and essentially halted public debuts (Zentalis Pharmaceuticals was the lone IPO of last week). And with the $1 billion from Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, Airbnb doesn’t need to raise money.
Airbnb had $3 billion in cash and $1 billion in credit, CNBC reported last month, but it was listening to investment pitches.
In early March, the company lowered its valuation to $26 billion, down from the $31 billion it was valued at when it raised money in 2017, CNBC reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias