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Travel industry news

22 Jul 2019

BY James Chapple

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Oyo founder buys back $2 billion stake in hotel giant

The founder of one of the world’s largest hotel chains has bought back a $2 billion stake in the company.

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Oyo founder buys back $2 billion stake in hotel giant

Ritesh Agarwal, 25, who founded Oyo Rooms in India when he was 19, has moved for the shareholdings of early Oyo investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia India.


The deal, conducted through Cayman Islands-based RA Hospitality Holdings, will now be subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.


It will increase Agarwal’s stake from 10% to 30%, with additional investment from institutional banks and other finance partners, said the company.


Oyo claims to be the world’s third-largest hotel chain with more than one million rooms across its hotels and rooms portfolio.


It operates in more than 800 cities in 80 countries, including the UK, and has 200,000 rooms in India alone.


The company’s investors include Airbnb, SoftBank Vision Fund and Greenoaks Capital. The latest round of funding will allow Oyo to expand its operations in India, the US, China, the UK and EU.


Munish Varma, managing partner of SoftBank Vision Fund, said: “We have confidence in Ritesh’s vision for Oyo and how the team has come together to build a truly global brand from India.


“It has been an exciting journey so far and we hope to achieve many more milestones together in the time to come.”


Agarwal built his empire by encouraging low quality Indian hotels to meet certain minimum stands and then franchise through his company.


In return, Oyo offers franchisees various benefits including tech, finance and operational expertise to help them improve their service and make their hotels more profitable.


The company has pledged to invest $600 million in its Chinese operation, and is actively seeking further investment to expand in the country.

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