Public holidays 公共假期


Initial pandemic offerings 首次疫情募股
Airbnb’s stockmarket debut will be a hit. Never mind its murky prospects


Mr Chesky can relax. But for how long? TALK ABOUT terrible timing. When the pandemic hit in March, Brian Chesky had just put the finishing touches on the paperwork for Airbnb’s much-awaited public listing. Instead of travelling to New York to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange, he found himself spending days (and nights) on Zoom in his home office in San Francisco, fighting to keep his online holiday-rental marketplace alive. “It was like you are going 100 miles an hour and suddenly have to hit the brakes,” Airbnb’s boss recalls.
时机可真是糟糕啊。3月疫情来袭时,布莱恩·切斯基(Brian Chesky)刚刚为爱彼迎(Airbnb)备受期待的挂牌上市做完最后的文书润色工作。他没能去纽约敲响纳斯达克的开市钟,而是在旧金山家里的办公桌前熬了几天(和几夜),在Zoom上努力让他的线上度假短租平台活下去。“就好像你正在以100英里的时速开着车,可是突然得猛踩刹车。”这位爱彼迎的老板回忆道。
This time around Mr Chesky might be luckier. On November 16th Airbnb unveiled its prospectus, putting it on track for an initial public offering (IPO) in December, just as the first doses of the covid-19 vaccine may become available. The IPO could value Airbnb at more than $30bn. The firm’s longer-term prospects are harder to divine.
The vaccine is not the only thing that makes this an opportune time for Airbnb to go public. The window for tech IPOs has not been open this wide since the dotcom bubble 20 years ago. More than 50 tech startups have floated this year, raising a total of $26bn, according to Dealogic, a data provider. Many of Airbnb’s employees want to cash in on the shares they have been awarded before their right to do so expires. And the firm needs money, on top of the $2bn it raised earlier this year to tide it over—hence its decision to scrap earlier plans to list shares directly without drumming up fresh capital.
Mr Chesky has a good recovery story to tell, too. In the painful second quarter the number of nights booked on Airbnb fell to 28m, from 84m a year before. Gross bookings collapsed by two-thirds, to $3.2bn. In the next three months, though, the numbers rebounded, to 62m and $8bn, mainly thanks to what Mr Chesky calls “travel redistribution”. Guests eschewed virus-hit foreign cities, formerly Airbnb’s stronghold, for domestic and rural destinations. Stays less than 500 miles (800km) from home rose by more than 50% this summer.
Mr Chesky has also made Airbnb leaner. Before the pandemic the firm had sunk money into new businesses, including flights and a television studio, to pad revenues ahead of the listing. Since then his motto has been “back to the roots”. He has fired around 1,800 employees, a quarter of the workforce, shut down most of the new activities and radically cut online advertising (more than 90% of guests now book directly on Airbnb’s site). As a result, though the firm lost $916m in the first six months of the year, it turned a net profit of $219m in the third quarter.
Can Airbnb keep this up? Even before the pandemic growth had begun to slow. Once things are back to normal, room for further expansion may be limited, at least in the company’s core market. Bernstein, a research firm, expects annual growth in private rentals to slow to 7-8%, from around 20% in the past few years. And Airbnb’s operating margins lag behind those of its closest rivals, Booking.com and Expedia (which operates VRBO, a site that lists mostly holiday homes).
Airbnb’s future also depends on its ability to police its service and meet a growing list of legal requirements across many jurisdictions where it operates. As with other big online firms, renters have found ways to abuse the platform, for instance by using rental properties for parties; in July police in New Jersey broke up a rowdy event with 700 people. As for regulations, the firm says in its prospectus that by October 2019, 70% of its top 200 cities by revenue had imposed restrictions, such as limits on how many days a year residential properties can be rented out.
Mr Chesky’s biggest task, however, will be to work out what Airbnb, now entering its teens, should be when it grows up. He has said he would like to see it evolve like Apple or Disney—firms that have adapted over time and outlived their founders. The pandemic has been a setback for its new lines of business. “Either we keep doing new things as the world changes,” he says, “or we stop doing new things—and we won’t exist in the future.” Even if, occasionally, doing new things means sticking to the old ones.


Asset acquisition资产收购用于完成两个实体并购的方法。在反向并购中,它不是用直接兼并或股票交换的方法兼并另一个实体,通常是上市的壳公司收购了非上市公司的资产的方法。
Audited financial statement经审计的财务报表经过审计人员审计过的公司的财务报表。
Backdoor registration后门登记通过直接收购上市壳公司而使公司股票上市的方法,之后该借壳公司存续下来,并取代壳公司的地位。
Bankrupt shell破产壳公司指通过破产后发行股票成立的上市壳公司或上市公司通过破产出售而留下一个无负债的上市壳公司。
Beneficial owner受益所有者指登记的证券所有者或按照SEC的规则被认为是证券的所有者。受益所有权例子包含这样一个假定,即当事人持有的股票是当前可交割的期权或权证或其配偶持有的股票。
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