On Nov 16, just hours after US biotech firm Moderna Inc announced that the ongoing Phase Three of its Covid-19 vaccine trial showed that its drug was 94.5% effective, global home-sharing giant Airbnb Inc filed its S-1 initial prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is regarded as an intention to undertake an IPO.

The timing could not have been better. A week earlier, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc announced that the Phase Three results of its own vaccine showed 90% effectiveness. Although Covid-19 cases are surging again as the pandemic’s second wave spreads across Europe and North America, threatening stricter lockdowns that could further disrupt their economies, the imminent arrival of vaccines spurred global markets to new heights this past week.

Airbnb’s IPO in mid-December will be the biggest since the pandemic forced a shutdown of economies around the world earlier this year. The peer-to-peer room and home rental company is seeking to raise nearly US$4 billion ($5.4 billion) at a US$35 billion to US$40 billion valuation. Ant Group’s botched Shanghai-Hong Kong dual listing earlier this month would have been far bigger — raising US$34.4 billion at a US$313 billion valuation — but Beijing forced the FinTech giant to pull the plug at the last minute.

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