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Airbnb secures $US1 billion as it stockpiles cash during pandemic

Airbnb said private equity firms Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners will invest $US1 billion ($1.6 billion) in the US home rental company, bolstering its finances at a time when the coronavirus outbreak has roiled the travel and leisure industry.

The investment, which was mixture of debt and equity, raises Airbnb’s cash reserves to around $US4 billion. The company said it would use the funds primarily to attract more hosts, or homeowners who list their properties for rent on the company’s platform.

Silver Lake is one of the most high-profile tech investors and has made high-profile bets on the likes of Twitter, Dell and Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet.

Silver Lake is one of the most high-profile tech investors and has made high-profile bets on the likes of Twitter, Dell and Waymo, the self-driving unit of Alphabet.Credit:Ryan Stuart

Silver Lake and Sixth Street were among around 20 investors which approached Airbnb about investing in the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

“While the current environment is clearly a difficult one for the hospitality industry, the desire to travel and have authentic experiences is fundamental and enduring. Airbnb’s diverse, global, and resilient business model is particularly well suited to prosper as the world inevitably recovers and we all get back out to experience it,” Silver Lake Co-CEO and Managing Partner Egon Durban said in a statement.

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