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Microsoft invests US$5 million in SoftBank-backed Oyo

BENGALURU :Microsoft Corp has invested US$5 million in SoftBank-backed Oyo, according to a regulatory filing, ahead of the Indian hotel chain's plan to go public.

Oravel Stays Pvt Ltd (Oyo) approved on July 16 the issue of equity shares and convertible cumulative preference shares amounting to rupee equivalent of US$5 million to Microsoft in a private placement, according to a filing by Oyo with the Registrar of Companies.

Last month, a source familiar with the matter had told Reuters that Microsoft was in advanced talks to invest in Oyo at a US$9 billion valuation.

The hotel aggregator, in which Japanese conglomerate SoftBank owns a 46per cent stake, endured months of layoffs, cost cuts and losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But with easing travel curbs and increasing vaccinations, travel demand is slowly recovering in India, with local tourism attractions witnessing a higher traffic.

In early July, Oyo's founder and chief executive officer, Ritesh Agarwal, said the firm would consider a potential public offering, but did not provide a timeline.

India is currently witnessing an IPO frenzy. In July, food-delivery firm Zomato saw a stellar debut. Berkshire Hathaway Inc-backed Paytm and ride-hailing firm Ola, which is also backed by SoftBank, are among other Indian startups looking to enter markets.

Last week, a financial news website reported that Oyo had shortlisted JP Morgan, Kotak Mahindra Capital and Citi for a more than US$1.2 billion initial share sale. Oyo did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa and Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Subhranshu Sahu)

Source: Reuters/aj

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