Airbnb seeks SEC rule change to make hosts stakeholders

by Francis Monfort26 Sep 2018

Home-sharing platform Airbnb is asking the SEC to change a rule to allow its hosts to become stakeholders in the company, according to a report by CNBC.

The company argues that modifications to Rule 701, which governs equity awards by private companies, to include a new classification of worker as stakeholder would allow early-stage private companies to maintain existing liquidity levels.

Under the current SEC rule, only employees and investors of private companies are eligible for stock options and equity ownership.

"Our community model is different than a business with a traditional hierarchical structure, and we are excited to have the chance to work with the SEC to consider reforms that could make more economic opportunities available to more people," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement.

The platform runs on “gig economy” workers who are closer to contractors than employees.

"Airbnb believes that twenty-first-century companies are most successful when the interests of all stakeholders are aligned," Airbnb said in a letter to the SEC. "For sharing economy companies like Airbnb, this includes our employees and investors, but also the hosts who use our marketplace."

The report noted that Airbnb has been flirting with a 2019 IPO. The company said in May that it would be ready to go public then but isn't sure that it will.

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