The strange pattern of OYO’s incomplete transactions31 October 2019.Believe me, when I say this, I will be the happiest when I don’t have to chase OYO’s tail. But right now, it is simply not okay to look away from unfinished business. First, Ritesh Agarwal’s Cayman Islands buyback deal. From Business Standard in July this year:
“Hospitality firm OYO on Friday said its founder Ritesh Agarwal has signed a deal to buy back shares worth $2 billion from early investors through his Cayman islands-registered entity, RA Hospitality Holdings. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia India, OYO's early supporters, are selling part of their holdings in order to help the founder increase his stake while remaining invested significantly in the company's long-term mission, OYO said in a statement. ‘Company's founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal, through RA Hospitality Holdings (Cayman), has signed $2 billion primary and secondary management investment round, supported by global institutional banks and his financial partners,’ it added.”
Multiple sources I spoke with, who have all been following this transaction closely, said the deal hasn’t happened.
China is looking grim for OYOShanghai2 March 2020.In the era of Uber, WeWork and Ofo, we have become weary of fast-growing startups propelled by venture capital money, led by young men long on ambition and short on experience. OYO, India’s embattled hospitality chain, founded by CEO Ritesh Agarwal in 2013 when he was just 19 years old, seems to teeter on the edge of fulfilling that familiar boom-to-bust arc. In the last month, OYO has made sizeable job cuts in offices across the world and exited 200 cities in the name of restructuring, amid backlash from investors and partners all over.
In China, OYO’s second largest market, after India, things are looking grim. The COVID-19 outbreak is wreaking havoc across the entire sector, Shi Zhenkang, the only OYO China top executive with hotel experience has parted ways with the company, and formidable local competitors are encroaching on the same market OYO staked when it first blazed into China.