Sep 21, 2018

Airbnb asks SEC to let it give hosts equity

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals

Airbnb has sent a comment letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, asking it to allow the home-sharing company to give equity to its hosts.

Flashback: Airbnb isn't the first "gig economy" company to look into stock-sharing. Ride-hailing startup Juno famously pledged to give its drivers equity when it debuted, but later had to nix the plan when it realized that would be too difficult. Uber has also met multiple times with the SEC to discuss how it could do this, as Axios reported last year.

What they're saying: “Airbnb is a community-based company and we would be nothing without our hosts. We would like our most loyal hosts to be shareholders, but need these policies to change in order to make that happen," said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in a statement to Axios.

The details:

  • Airbnb's letter (read it here) specifically addresses the SEC's interest in potentially revising Rule 701 of the Securities Act to add a "gig economy worker" category. Currently, private companies like Airbnb can only give equity to investors and employees.
  • But even if approved, the U.S. federal government would have to consider the current tax implications of private stock transfer.
  • Additionally, either the SEC or Congress would also have to revise Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act, which currently caps the total number of shareholders at 2,000 before a company is subject to public reporting requirements.

The story has been updated with a link to the letter.

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,428,605 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,179,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.