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Airbnb To Weigh 2021 Listing on Silicon Valley Exchange

  • It’s in talks to be the first company to list on new exchange
  • Decision on ESG listing would come in 2021 at earliest

Airbnb Inc., which is planning an initial public offering this year on the Nasdaq, may also list its shares in 2021 on an upstart trading venue for companies committed to environmental, social and corporate governance values, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

In addition to its traditional IPO, the home rental startup is weighing a dual listing on the Long-Term Stock Exchange, founded by “The Lean Startup” author Eric Ries, the people said. A final decision hasn’t been made and a move would come next year at the earliest, they added, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

It would be the biggest and only get for the upstart trading venue, which opened for trading in September.

By listing on the new exchange, Airbnb would be pledging to operate its business in a manner that complies with the exchange’s ESG standards. Airbnb wouldn’t raise extra capital through this listing, the people said.

Issuers on LTSE will be required to publish and maintain ESG standards, in addition to meeting financial and governance thresholds, according to the company’s website.

A representative for Airbnb declined to comment. LTSE spokesman Steve Goldstein said, “we don’t discuss our conversations with companies.”

Big Coup

Attracting an established company like Airbnb to be the first company to list on its exchange would be a major coup. The LTSE allowed for potential listings this year after winning approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in May 2019.

Traders have been able to buy and sell stock on the exchange since September, even though no companies are listed on it.

The exchange has raised about $90 million, with backing from venture capital firms including Founders Fund, Collaborative Fund and Andreessen Horowitz.

LTSE-founder Ries and Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive and co-founder, have known each other for a long time, according to a May blog. “We’ve been allies and comrades-in-arms in trying to lay out what it means to be a 21st century company,” Ries wrote.

In 2018, Airbnb pledged to become a company that would serve all its stakeholders when it comes to corporate governance, not just investors. Earlier this year, Airbnb announced a stakeholder committee that would advise the board on ways the company can benefit hosts, guests, communities and employees, in addition to shareholders.

Airbnb has banned party houses and boosted efforts to combat abusive host and guest behavior after drawing national attention for public nuisances caused by its rentals.

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