It's official: AirBnB is launching an initial public offering (IPO).

The company announced, in a tersely worded press release published after market hours on Wednesday, that it has filed an S-1 to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This is essentially an official registration statement for a company that aims to list its shares on a stock exchange.

As is common with early stage IPO filings, AirBnB did not specify the number of shares it was planning to sell, nor a price range for that stock. It was also not immediately clear on which stock exchange the company planned to list, or what companies might be underwriting what's sure to be a sizable issue.

IPO spelled out in wooden blocks.

Image source: Getty Images.

The IPO scene has been lively in recent weeks due to the robust performance of the stock market (IPOs tend to cluster in times of optimism). Yet AirBnB might have a tough sell in front of it; an Aug. 12 Bloomberg article, citing "people familiar with the matter," stated that the company apparently suffered a year-over-year revenue drop of nearly 70% in its second quarter.

Almost certainly, this is due to the coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak has kept many people shut in at home and reluctant to travel very far, let alone take vacations (although the company might be reaping some benefit from regional "staycation" activity).

The travel sector has been one of the hardest hit of all during this period, although it has shown signs of recovery now that U.S. coronavirus/COVID-19 statistics are trending downward. Online travel agency (OTA) mainstay Expedia Group (NASDAQ:EXPE) is still down nearly 32% from its year-ago price, while arch rival Booking Holdings (NASDAQ:BKNG) has declined by over 9%.

 
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