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Airbnb cuts 1,900 jobs as coronavirus hits home rentals

Munsif Vengattil, Joshua Franklin and Anirban Sen
·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: A woman talks on the phone at the Airbnb office headquarters in the SOMA district of San Francisco

By Munsif Vengattil, Joshua Franklin and Anirban Sen

(Reuters) - Airbnb Inc is laying off 25% of its workforce, or nearly 1,900 employees, the home rental startup said on Tuesday, as the COVID-19 pandemic brings global travel to a near standstill.

"Airbnb's business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019," founder Brian Chesky said in a memo to employees.

Reuters reported about the move earlier on Tuesday. The laid off employees in the United States will get 14 weeks of base pay plus one additional week for every year at Airbnb, the company said.

With millions of tourists canceling plans for vacations, work trips and family visits, Airbnb earlier this year said it was allocating $250 million to help offset losses incurred by hosts.

In late March, it suspended its marketing activities to save $800 million in 2020 and informed workers that its founders will take no salary for the next six months while top executives would take a 50% cut.

Last month, Airbnb said private equity firms Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners would invest $1 billion in the startup, raising its cash reserves to around $4 billion.

The fund would be used to attract more hosts or homeowners who list their properties for rent on its platform, Airbnb had said.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil, Anirban Sen and Joshua Franklin; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Arun Koyyur)