Airbnb ‘reinventing’ itself with £4.8bn share buyback as it looks to go ‘far beyond travel’

Airbnb ‘reinventing’ itself with £4.8bn share buyback as it looks to go ‘far beyond travel’

14 Feb    Finance News, In Business

Airbnb is charting a course towards diversification beyond its core offerings, unveiling a $6 billion share buyback scheme alongside a mixed set of fourth-quarter results.

The home rental platform is set on “reinventing” itself and venturing into new business territories, with plans to expand into markets like Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

“Airbnb is at an inflection point,” the company conveyed to shareholders on Tuesday. “We’ve spent the past three years refining our core service, and now we’re poised to embark on our next chapter,” it elaborated.

Following this announcement, Airbnb’s shares surged nearly seven per cent in after-hours trading, marking a 21 per cent increase over the past year.

CEO Brian Chesky informed analysts that while the company envisions venturing “far beyond travel” in the years to come, it will initially focus on its core travel business.

In addition to this strategic move, the company’s board has sanctioned a share buyback programme amounting to up to $6 billion (£4.8 billion).

In 2023 alone, Airbnb executed total share repurchases worth $2.25 billion. Since launching its first share buyback scheme in 2022, it has repurchased $3.75 billion worth of its stock.

“The repurchase program continues to be executed as part of our broader capital allocation strategy, which prioritizes investments in organic growth, strategic acquisitions where relevant, and return of capital to shareholders, in that order,” Airbnb affirmed.

“Our robust balance sheet and substantial cash flow generation equip us with the capital to pursue all three objectives.”

Airbnb reported fourth-quarter revenue of $2.2 billion, marking a 17 per cent increase from the previous year and surpassing analyst estimates of $2.16 billion. This growth was attributed to robust travel demand and favorable foreign exchange rates.

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However, the company recorded a net loss of $349 million for the final quarter, citing a one-off tax expense of approximately $1 billion as a contributing factor. This resulted in a diluted loss per share of $0.55, compared to earnings per share (EPS) of $0.48 in the preceding year.

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