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Airbnb petitions SEC for rule change to allow hosts to become shareholders

Proposed change would allow gig economy workers to become part owners of gig-based companies

Airbnb is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission for a rule change so its hosts can become part owners in the company, according to a report from CNBC’s Sara Salinas.

"Airbnb believes that twenty-first century companies are most successful when the interests of all stakeholders are aligned," the company said in a letter to the SEC.

"For sharing economy companies like Airbnb, this includes our employees and investors, but also the hosts who use our marketplace,” it added.

The rule in question is Rule 701, an SEC rule governing equity awards of private companies. The changes proposed would allow “gig economy” workers to take up shares in the company.

This is a big deal because a rule change like this would extend to other companies like Uber and GrubHub.

"Our community model is different than a business with a traditional hierarchical structure and we are excited to have the chance to work with the SEC to consider reforms that could make more economic opportunities available to more people," CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement.

According to the report, Airbnb has been considering a 2019 IPO, saying that it might be ready to go public in May of next year.

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