Sep 19, 2019 - Economy

New York City is making Airbnb investors nervous pre-IPO

In this image, the Airbnb app is displayed on a smartphone.

The Airbnb logo on a tablet screen. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Amid plans to go public in 2020, Airbnb is still sparring with New York City in its latest battle over illegally listed short-term rentals, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Investors want the company "to sort things out with New York" before filing for its IPO, according to Bloomberg — but "Airbnb has been at odds with New York for almost its entire existence."

By the numbers: Airbnb, which operates in more than 500 cities around the world, says that New York currently represents 1% of the company's revenue. The city generates roughly $70 million of Airbnb's $5 billion in annual global revenue, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg.

What to watch: New York lawyers and Airbnb will meet on Sept. 27 to discuss the company's latest lawsuit against the city, which could end with the San Francisco tech company being forced to hand over hosts' names and addresses each month.

  • That would allow New York to fine those breaking the law, and potentially let Airbnb "legitimize its market in New York and soothe investors worried about greater upheaval," per Bloomberg.

What they're saying: “New York is a marathon and not a sprint. We will ultimately get across the finish line," Airbnb’s global head of policy, Chris Lehane, told Bloomberg.

  • “This issue festered and festered and has gotten to a point now that Airbnb has lost all political leverage,” venture capitalist and former political strategist Bradley Tusk told Bloomberg. “Can you ring the bell in a city where you’re not legal? It would be pretty damn awkward.”

Go deeper: Airbnb highlights S.F. growth after implementing host registration

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