As Airbnb Prepares For Wall Street Scrutiny, Its Hometown Is A Key Case Study

Airbnb, long a flash point for controversy in its hometown, has achieved detente with San Francisco at the cost of slower growth — while pursuing other expansions that could stir new issues.

San Francisco is not alone in reining in Airbnb. Cities from South Lake Tahoe to New York to Paris are cracking down on short-term rentals, concerned about housing availability and neighborhood impact.

As one of the world’s most valuable venture-backed companies prepares for an initial public offering valuing it in the tens of billions of dollars — more than any hotel chain — how fast Airbnb can grow as regulations tighten is a key question. Though San Francisco is a small part of Airbnb’s business, it is the company’s oldest market and a key laboratory for change.

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