Startups

Airbnb ups its debt by $1BN amid the coronavirus travel crunch

Comment

Image Credits: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / Contributor / Getty Images

Airbnb has secured commitments of $1 billion for a syndicated term loan from institutional investors, it said.

The emergency cash injection comes as the coronavirus travel freeze continues to hammer vacation rentals, with holidaymakers locked down at home and global travel banned or heavily discouraged for public health reasons.

Neither the names of the parties to the Airbnb loan nor the terms have been disclosed but Reuters — citing several sources with knowledge of the matter — is reporting that private equity firms Silver Lake, Apollo Global Management, Sixth Street Partners, Oaktree Capital Management and Owl Rock are parties, with Silver Lake reportedly “one of the biggest players”. Though all the firms declined to comment.

Per Reuters’ sources, the loan is for five years — with an interest rate of 750 basis points over the Libor benchmark, which we understand is correct.

The news agency was also told it was sold at a slight discount to the loan’s par value which would see investors earn a rate of around 12%. While the terms of the deal are first lien debt, meaning the listed creditors would be paid first if Airbnb were to default, per Reuters’ sources.

We’ve reached out to Airbnb for comment.

Earlier this month the vacation rentals giant announced an additional $1BN raise in debt and equity from two of the aforementioned private equity firms, Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners. Though at the time it said the funds would support its ongoing work to invest over the long term — couching the raise as strategic, rather than a bailout in troubled times.

The $1BN term loan looks more clearly targeted at dealing with immediate negative impacts caused by COVID-19. Although, once again, Airbnb’s statement seeks to paint an upbeat picture of travel in a post-pandemic future, without the company being able to specify exactly when such a time might arrive.

“I deeply appreciate the confidence and trust that so many have shown in our company even as every sector in travel is going through the storm of the pandemic. We know travel will return and rather than merely hunkering down, the support we have received will allow Airbnb to continue moving forward as we invest in our community,” said Airbnb co-founder and CEO, Brian Chesky, in a statement. “All of the actions we have taken over the last several weeks assure that Airbnb will emerge from the storm of the pandemic even stronger, regardless of how long the storm lasts.”

The cash injection will “ensure Airbnb can continue to invest in its company and community of hosts and guests in over 220 countries and regions around the world”, the company added.

In recent weeks Airbnb has faced anger from hosts faced with a wave of coronavirus cancelations and refunds, after it made a policy change last month to allow guests to be refunded in full for bookings over the coronavirus period. It later earmarked $250M to help hosts impacted by COVID-19 cancellations.

Some countries have also banned holiday rentals entirely during the pandemic — including the UK which recently clamped down after hosts had been found advertising ‘isolation retreats’.

There have also been reports of an increase in long term rental properties in some markets, such as London, as professional landlords operating on platforms like Airbnb look for an alternative revenue stream for empty vacation rentals that are now costing them money.

Should such switching take hold in markets where residential tenancy contracts can stretch for five or more years it could put a lasting lock-up on a chunk of properties which vacation rental platforms have been repurposing as moneyspinners up til now.

One thing is clear: The global travel crunch has put a major dent in Airbnb’s IPO hopes. Last September, the company told investors, employees, and the world it would begin to trade publicly in 2020. A couple of months late the coronavirus struck and Airbnb has seen its valuation crash vs a $35BN peak, back in 2019.

Per Reuters, last week’s $1BN bond deal included warrants for the two firms that can be exercised at an $18BN valuation — well below even the $26BN Airbnb cited as an internal valuation in early March.

More TechCrunch

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

3 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?