Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Airbnb has restarted internal conversations about going public in 2020, something unthinkable just a month ago, per multiple sources close to the company.

The big picture: Stock markets are no longer moored to macroeconomic conditions or financial performance, and IPOs are riding the tsunami.

For Airbnb, which hasn't made any formal decisions yet, the math is twofold:

1. The universe of IPO issuers is expanding.

  • Not only are established, profitable companies like Warner Music Group finding success, but so are money-losing, VC-backed tech companies like ZoomInfo and Vroom (which priced last night above range).
  • As further evidence of banker bullishness, insure-tech upstart Lemonade yesterday filed its S-1, despite growing losses and less than $100 million in 2019 revenue.
  • Lemonade's pitch will be "stay private shorter," offering the possibility of private-market returns to public-market investors. It also will be a test case for the $100 million revenue threshold, which had been considered tech IPO gospel in recent years.
  • IPO investors are often giving issuers a mulligan for recent performance, instead using 2019 results to model out past 2021. For Airbnb, this means it could go public in late Q3 without being dinged too badly for its Q1 or Q2 results.

2. The travel and hospitality sectors are showing green shoots.

  • Airline capacity remains well below pre-pandemic levels, but it is showing modest improvement. And their stocks are soaring.
  • Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told Bloomberg that his company had more U.S. bookings between May 17 and June 3, including the Memorial Day weekend, than it did for the same period in 2019. He also said there was an increase in longer stays, perhaps reflective of people wanting to work from (a different) home.

Airbnb also shored up its cash position early in the pandemic by raising $2 billion in new debt and equity, and cut its costs via large layoffs.

  • A company spokesperson declined to comment on IPO plans.

The bottom line: The coronavirus hasn't gone away. In fact, infection rates and hospitalizations are accelerating in several states. But public equity markets have largely stopped caring, which is unexpectedly good news for companies like Airbnb.

Go deeper: Airbnb cuts 25% of workforce

Go deeper

Jun 12, 2020 - Technology

Big Tech's reckoning on race

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are starting to open their wallets to confront racial inequities, but the issues that the industry needs to address go far beyond just writing checks.

The big picture: The lack of black and Latinx representation in the tech workforce is well documented, but the industry also must grapple with the vast impact its products can have in healing inequality — or worsening it.

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.