Airbnb, the short-term couch and apartment rental site, could be worth more than some major hotel chains, if a deal that's in "advanced" stages of talks goes through. That's according to the Wall Street Journal, which notes that the plan to raise money for the site would place its value over $10 billion. That's more than hotel giants Wyndham Worldwide Corp. ($9.4 billion) and Hyatt Hotels Corp. ($8.4 billion).
While obviously a success, Airbnb has not been without controversy: for one thing, horror stories of rentals gone bad seem to regularly crop up in the news. Just this week, a New Yorker very nearly ended up with an "XXX freak fest" in his apartment after renting his home out for a night through the service. While he stopped the orgy before it began, Ari Teman now faces the possibility of eviction.
Plus, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed the company for its user data in order to determine whether the company allows some residents to break a 2010 law limiting short-term apartment rentals. But Airbnb has recently teased plans to expand its services into to other areas of the hospitality industry — picking up renters from the airport at the start of their trip, for instance. According to Time, the company has said it wants to become "the Apple of the hospitality business."
In 2012, the company did a fundraising round that put its valuation in the $2.5 billion range, according to a few reports. Airbnb hasn't yet disclosed its profitability or revenue, according to the Journal. There are currently about 600,000 rental listings on the site. For each successful listing, the company gets a portion of the rental fee.