Blackstone CFO reportedly heading to Airbnb

Airbnb, the popular home rental startup, is currently in talks with a senior executive at investment firm Blackstone Group, Laurence A. Tosi, to be its chief financial officer, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Renting, if it comes to fruition, would be a sure hit for Airbnb as it continues to develop its rapidly growing rental business. Mr Tosi, who is 47, has been Blackstone’s chief financial officer since 2008, a period in which the assets of the investment firm soared from $ 102 billion to $ 330 billion, and is well regarded at within society.

Airbnb has been in talks with investors to raise more than $ 1 billion in cash, which would amount to a valuation of around $ 24 billion for the company. This estimate, which would rank the company among the top-rated start-ups in Silicon Valley, is most likely fueled by the company’s ambitious growth prospects, both domestically and internationally. The valuation would put it behind Uber and surpass Snapchat, among its tech peers.

Airbnb said its business program for professionals has grown 700% since the initiative launched a year ago. It even recently expanded to Cuba after restrictions between the island and the United States eased.

Yet Airbnb, which started in 2008, has encountered obstacles in some states, and some political leaders have called for more regulation of their services. Airbnb has also had to grapple with large hotel chains that see the young company as a growing threat in the market, both for business travelers and individuals.

Airbnb did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. Bloomberg News first reported that Airbnb was close to making a deal to hire Mr. Tosi.

If hired, Mr Tosi’s financial expertise is likely to add to speculation that Airbnb may try to go public soon, especially as Wall Street banks prepare for any initial public offering. potential of Uber. However, many start-ups that have been successful in raising funds from venture capitalists tend to stay private longer, as they build their brands outside of the control of public markets.

It would also be at least the third recent decision by a Wall Street professional to oversee the finances of a tech company. Twitter hired Anthony J. Noto, formerly of Goldman Sachs, last year. And Google made a similar move in March by poaching Ruth Porat of Morgan Stanley, a hire that helped the tech giant’s market value soar.

In addition to managing Blackstone’s complex finances, Mr. Tosi is a valuable point of contact for Blackstone in terms of communicating with external investors.

Along with Joseph Baratta, Bennett J. Goodman and Jonathan D. Gray, Mr. Tosi is part of a core of influential young investment firm leaders who have been instrumental in transforming the business from a store. from private equity focused on transactions into a diversified asset management company.

Blackstone, with its small size and tight-knit culture, prides itself on its low senior management turnover, so a move from Mr. Tosi to another company will be deeply felt within the company.

Prior to Blackstone, Mr. Tosi held senior positions at Merrill Lynch and General Electric.

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