Five months after announcing plans to go public, vacation rental management startup Vacasa on Tuesday finally wrapped up a merger and began trading shares on the stock market.
The merger saw Vacasa join forces with TPG Pace Solutions, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Shares in the newly merged firm began trading Monday morning at just under $10 before quickly jumping up to around $10.40. By Tuesday afternoon, however, the company’s share price had settled back down to under $10.
Vacasa shares are trading using the ticker symbol VCSA
1/ We started with one home and one vision: to make it easier to own and stay at a vacation home.
12 years, 400+ destinations, and 35,000+ homes later, Vacasa is officially a publicly-traded company. @nasdaq $VCSA pic.twitter.com/XA88lokl7n
— Vacasa (@vacasarentals) December 7, 2021
Vacasa’s merger with TPG Pace Solutions valued the company at $4.4 billion.
In a statement Tuesday, Vacasa CEO Matt Roberts called the company’s public listing “another important milestone” for employees, homeowners, guests and “the broader vacation rental industry.”
“Funds from the over $340 million of gross proceeds provided by the transaction will enable us to help accelerate our execution on our long-term business plan of further enhancing our technology capabilities and products, adding more homes to our platform, and improving the vacation rental experience for all stakeholders,” Roberts continued.
In a phone conversation Tuesday with Inman, Vacasa chief financial officer Jamie Cohen described an upbeat mood at the company Tuesday as employees across the U.S. tuned in virtually to watch the stock market debut.
“It’s a very exciting day for Vacasa,” Cohen added.
She went on to say that Vacasa plans to use new resources it generates from selling shares and merging to both expand its stock of rental properties as well as to beef up its technology. On the property front, Cohen noted that Vacasa currently manages about 35,000 properties but that there are about 5 million total vacation homes in the U.S.
“We have a ton of room to continue to grow,” Cohen added. “In the short term, we’re focused on the domestic opportunity, which is enormous.”
Most of Vacasa’s current properties are located in the U.S., though the company also has a presence in Canada, Costa Rica and Belize. Cohen said that over the longer term Vacasa will pursue new expansion opportunities overseas as well.
Cohen also said Vacasa plans to continue developing its technology platform. She specifically pointed to the company’s homeowner app, which allows property owners to track things such as revenue and nights booked, as an area where Vacasa sees opportunity.
Vacasa’s debut as a public company is the culmination of a journey that began more than a decade ago. At the time, Eric Breon was looking for a better way to rent out a family vacation homes. Breon went on to found Vacasa, which ended up offering management and marketing services to people who want to rent out second houses and vacation properties. Vacasa markets properties on platforms such as Airbnb, as well as via its own website.
Over the years, Vacasa has begun offering other services as well, such as interior design, and now manages entire vacation-oriented communities as well as individual rentals.
Breon stepped down as CEO last year and was replaced as chief executive by Roberts.
Speculation about a potential Vacasa initial public offering (IPO) circulated for years before the company ultimately announced plans to pursue a SPAC deal. Such mergers have become increasingly common in recent years — iBuyers Opendoor and Offerpad both used SPAC deals to go public — because they offer a potentially faster and easier path to the stock market compared to a conventional IPO. That said, analysts have also suggested SPAC deals appear to be falling somewhat out of fashion more recently amid stumbles by companies that have used them.
How Vacasa specifically fares as a public company remains to be seen. However, Cohen told Inman the company is well-positioned to capitalize on a trend, which accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic, that has seen travelers increasingly turn to vacation rentals over traditional hotels.
“We are excited about the future,” Cohen concluded, “and continue to invest in technology and our teams.”