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Though the path from start-up to multibillion-dollar concern doesn't always travel through the stock market anymore, there are plenty of companies still looking to make the transition from privately held to publicly traded. And as Motley Fool Money host Chris Hill previews 2019, he has this question for senior analysts Aaron Bush and Matt Argersinger: Which initial public offerings are they particularly hoping to see announced this year?
In Bush's view, it's time for powerful payment platform Stripe to debut on Wall Street. For Argersinger, it's a company he's had a long relationship with: AirBnB. In this segment from the Motley Fool Money podcast, they explain what makes them so upbeat about those companies.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Jan. 4, 2019.
Chris Hill: This happens at this time every year: investors and particularly the business media start to look ahead in terms of private companies going public. Despite the volatility that we've seen recently, you've got executives on Wall Street saying, "Actually, that might accelerate plans for private companies to go public." In 2019, some of the best-known names, Aaron -- Uber, Slack, Airbnb, Lyft. Is there one that you're either really hoping goes public, or you're just eager to get your hands on the S-1 filing?
Aaron Bush: I hope Stripe goes public sooner or later. It might not IPO this year. They're a payment platform that makes it super easy for companies to sell things online. Their developer tools are known to be excellent. They continue to roll out new solutions. The founder and CEO, Patrick Collison, seems to be a super thoughtful. It wouldn't surprise me if one day, because this market is so big, buying things online, that Stripe becomes a larger payments company than PayPal. I think that's super fascinating. Right now, they have a market cap of about $20 billion, so I would love for them to go public sooner than later, [laughs] before they start hitting the upper tens of billions in their valuation.
Hill: Do you think they're at the point now where they're way past the acquisition standpoint?
Bush: It would be a big acquisition. I doubt it would happen, at least from another payments company. I bet they'll go solo public.
Hill: Matty, what are you eager to get your hands on?
Matt Argersinger: You mentioned it, Airbnb. My wife and I have actually been Airbnb hosts for over a decade now. What you have is essentially the world's largest, most expansive hotel company that really doesn't own any of its rooms. It's fascinating to me. It has somewhere on the order of five million listings, 150 million users in close to 200 countries. It has a profound network effect, maybe actually the strongest in the world. I think we're going to realize that. I don't know what the market cap is going to be when it becomes public, but just in terms of room count and customer count, it's bigger than all the major publicly traded hotel companies combined.
Hill: OK, I really wasn't expecting that at the end. I'm assuming the answer is yes. Do you have a good rating? What kind of rating do you have.
Argersinger: We have almost a five-star rating across our listings.
Hill: Nice! I'm not surprised, but I'm very pleased for you.