(Adds growth in overseas markets)
By Heather Somerville
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Home-renting company Airbnb Inc said on Friday it had “substantially more” than $1 billion in revenue for the third quarter, marking its strongest quarter yet ahead of a widely anticipated initial public offering next year.
The quarter was the first time it “substantially” exceeded $1 billion in revenue, Airbnb said in a statement, citing growth in key overseas markets, as well as in the smaller towns and suburban areas it has recently targeted expand beyond cities where it has been blamed for constraining housing stock.
The number of people booking homes on Airbnb in the third quarter was up 91 percent in Beijing, 79 percent in Mexico City and 70 percent in Birmingham, England, from the same three-month period a year ago, Airbnb said.
Reuters previously reported that Airbnb’s revenue for all of 2017 topped $2.5 billion, a more than 50 percent increase over 2016, and $1 billion of which occurred in the fourth quarter.
The San Francisco-based company is eyeing an IPO next year after announcing in February it would not make a public debut this year, despite investor expectations to the contrary. However, Airbnb remains without a chief financial officer after the departure of Laurence Tosi in February, a critical position to fill before going public.
Valued by private investors at $31 billion, Airbnb achieved its first full year of profitability in 2017 and is on track to be profitable this year. The company added two independent directors to its board this year as part of its IPO preparations.
Airbnb in recent months has turned to new services and offerings to fuel growth, adding luxury vacation homes and hotels to its platform that began a decade ago as a web-based service where travelers could find apartments and houses to rent. The company has also built up a tours and activities business and offers restaurant reservations in a bid for new sources of revenue.
The company continues to face regulatory battles, particularly in Europe and the United States, as cities try to limit Airbnb’s impact on housing stock and rental prices, and the effects of increased tourism in residential neighborhoods. The company has been forced to slash its listings in certain popular cities as part of concessions to regulators.
Airbnb remains locked in lawsuits with the southern California city of Santa Monica. (reut.rs/2PYriJj) (Reporting by Heather Somerville; editing by Dan Grebler and Bernadette Baum)