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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Airbnb may not be through with the private markets after all, as CNBC reports that the room rental giant is fielding offers from large investment firms, although pricing remains unclear.

Why it matters: 2020 was supposed to be the year that Airbnb went public, either through an IPO or a direct listing (or a combination of the two).

  • But there already was talk before the coronavirus crisis that the company was hedging a bit on timing, and right now there's no way any company — let alone a hospitality company — can successfully run a large float process (even via Zoom).
  • Airbnb last sold stock to VCs at a $31 billion valuation in late 2017. It later sold common stock at a $35 billion valuation, via its purchase of HotelTonight, and in early 2019 had an internal 409a valuation of $38 billion.

The state of play: For Airbnb, this would be protection money. The company does have plenty of cash on hand, and tells Axios that it has not yet laid off any employees, but its quarterly losses climbed in 2019 and its early 2020 results are bound to be abysmal as global travel has ground to a halt.

  • For investors, it's an opportunistic bet based on the belief that everything will be back to normal, or somewhat normal, at some point this year. If you believed a month ago that Airbnb would be a $50 billion public company by year-end, then it could make sense to buy in now in the $20 billion range — particularly as some of the company's hotel rivals may buckle under the weight of their fixed costs.

The bottom line: Dealmaking remains active, including for very well-known names. Just not the deals we were expecting to see.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

CDC says fully vaccinated people can take fewer precautions

Photo: Filip Filipovic/Getty Images

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: Per the report, there's early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.