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Budget hospitality chain OYO unveils staff stock option buyback

Budget hospitality chain OYO unveils staff stock option buyback
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Former and current staffers of Gurugram-based Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd, which owns budget hospitality chain OYO, are set for a bonanza after the company unveiled an employee stock option buyback programme initiated by one of its investors.

The buyback programme will be worth $150-200 million (Rs 1,050-1,400 crore) and will be spread over the next few years, OYO said in a statement. It didn't specify a time frame.

In January 2019, the investor will buy shares worth Rs 40-50 crore from around 250 existing and former employees.

The buyback is part of a secondary share purchase by an investor, the company said, but didn't reveal the investor's identity. A person in the know said on the condition of anonymity that the investor was not SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate which in September led a $1 billion (around Rs 7,300 then) funding round that catapulted OYO's valuation.

OYO’s other investors include Grab, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Greenoaks, China Lodging Group, Hero MotoCorp, Lightspeed India Partners and DSG Consumer Partners.

The development comes a little less than a month after OYO secured $104 million (Rs 732 crore then) from its newest investor, Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab. The funding round had valued the company at $4.3 billion.

In recent years, OYO has been expanding its operations beyond India. It first launched in Malaysia in 2016 and then in the United Arab Emirates, China, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. As on November-end, the company said it was present in 285 Chinese cities. 

Launched in 2013, OYO competes with Treebo and FabHotels, besides online travel services providers such as MakeMyTrip and Yatra.

A TechCircle analysis of Indian unicorns showed that OYO is way ahead of its competition, in terms of the size and scale of operations.

OYO is now present across more than 500 cities in seven countries: India, China, Malaysia, Nepal, UK, UAE and Indonesia, with over 13,000 franchised and leased hotels, over 3,000 homes and over 400,000 rooms under its various offerings.

In November, OYO appointed Aditya Ghosh, the former president of budget carrier IndiGo, as the chief executive officer to head its operations in India and South Asia.

In October, it ventured into the home rental segment by launching a new vertical called OYO Living, which offers shared accommodation to professionals and students.

This year, OYO also acquired a few startups including online marketplace Weddingz.in and Internet of Things company AblePlus Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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