Monday 17 May 2021 6:42 pm

Checking out: Airbnb shares dive as insiders are allowed to sell following last year's IPO

Airbnb shares dropped by almost 6 per cent after insiders became free to sell their shares for the first time since the home rental firm’s IPO in December 2020. 

Today’s drop comes only days after Airbnb beat Wall Street expectations for first-quarter gross bookings and revenue on May 13, as speedy Covid-19 vaccinations and easing restrictions encouraged more people to check into its vacation rentals.

Following Airbnb’s report last week, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill called the company “the best growth story in travel” according to Reuters. 

Despite this, today the San Francisco based company was among Wall Street’s five most-traded stocks as of midday. Around $3.3bn (£2.3bn) worth of Airbnb shares were bought and sold compared with an average of under $1bn a day over the past 20 sessions, according to Refinitiv data.

In a prospectus ahead of its IPO in December, Airbnb said that up to around 28m shares, including those owned by employees, could be sold as of the second trading day immediately following the company’s first-quarter report. The company still has about 608m shares outstanding, according to Refinitiv.

Airbnb has weathered the pandemic better than rivals as people turned to its offering of larger spaces and locations away from major cities in the era of social distancing.

The shares traded down 5.7 per cent at 133 at midday, after earlier falling as low as 130.25.

Although Airbnb is up 92 per cent from its IPO price – Wall Street’s largest in 2020 – it has fallen about 40 per cent since February.