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Oyo, previously valued at a whopping $10 billion, postpones IPO plans for the second time.

ByYasmeeta Oon

May 24, 2024
Oyo, previously valued at $10 billion, postpones IPO plans for the second time.

Oyo, previously valued at a whopping $10 billion, postpones IPO plans for the second time.

Oyo, the once high-flying Indian budget hotel chain, has withdrawn its Initial Public Offering (IPO) application from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for the second time, delivering a fresh blow to its already diminished ambitions. The Gurugram-headquartered startup, which at its peak commanded a valuation of $10 billion, pulled the plug on its IPO plans on May 17, according to a disclosure on the regulator’s website.

Oyo had initially filed paperwork with SEBI in 2021 for a public listing but withdrew it and refiled in 2023. Despite these attempts, SEBI has yet to approve either of Oyo’s applications, raising questions about the startup’s readiness to face public scrutiny. The repeated withdrawals highlight the challenges and uncertainties facing the company as it struggles to regain investor confidence and financial stability.

Oyo’s Financial Struggles

Oyo has been scrambling to secure a new round of funding at a valuation of $3 billion or less, according to a recent report by TechCrunch. However, the company has denied that it was raising capital at that valuation. Despite this denial, Oyo is now attempting to raise money at a valuation as low as $2 billion to $2.3 billion, a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. To date, the company has raised more than $3 billion in equity and debt.

Oyo’s Financial History and Valuations

2021Initial IPO Filing with SEBI$10 billion
2021Withdrawal of Initial IPO ApplicationNot Applicable
2023Refiled IPO Application with SEBINot Applicable
2023Attempted Funding Round$3 billion or less
2024New Funding Attempt$2 billion – $2.3 billion

Oyo, backed by prominent investors including SoftBank, Peak XV, Lightspeed, Airbnb, and Microsoft, was once hailed as a disruptor in the budget hotel industry. Its rapid expansion and innovative business model attracted significant attention and investment. However, in recent years, the startup has faced criticism for its business practices, which have included aggressive expansion strategies and conflicts with hotel owners.

The company’s challenges were further compounded in 2020 when it laid off thousands of employees to cut costs amid the global pandemic. This move was seen as a desperate attempt to reduce operational expenses and maintain financial stability in an increasingly competitive and challenging market.

  • Regulatory Hurdles: SEBI’s refusal to approve Oyo’s IPO applications suggests significant regulatory concerns, possibly related to the company’s financial health and governance practices.
  • Valuation Decline: The drastic drop in Oyo’s valuation from $10 billion at its peak to as low as $2 billion-$2.3 billion raises questions about the company’s long-term viability and attractiveness to investors.
  • Funding Challenges: Despite raising over $3 billion in equity and debt, Oyo’s ongoing struggles to secure new funding at favorable terms indicate a lack of confidence among potential investors.

Key Highlights

  • Oyo has withdrawn its IPO application from SEBI for the second time.
  • The startup’s valuation has dropped significantly from $10 billion to as low as $2 billion.
  • SEBI has not approved any of Oyo’s IPO applications, raising questions about its readiness for public listing.
  • Oyo is backed by major investors but faces criticism for its business practices and financial instability.
  • The company laid off thousands of employees in 2020 to cut costs amid the global pandemic.

As Oyo navigates these turbulent times, the company’s future remains uncertain. The repeated IPO withdrawals and significant drop in valuation reflect broader challenges within the startup. Analysts suggest that Oyo needs to address its operational and governance issues to regain investor confidence and stabilize its financial position.

Moreover, the company’s ability to innovate and adapt to changing market conditions will be crucial in determining its long-term success. The hospitality industry, especially the budget segment, remains highly competitive, with numerous players vying for market share. Oyo’s ability to differentiate itself and offer unique value propositions will be key to its survival and growth.

The reaction from the investment community and market analysts has been mixed. Some see the repeated IPO withdrawals as a sign of deeper underlying issues, while others believe that Oyo still has the potential to turn things around with the right strategy and leadership.

Investor Perspective:

  1. Skepticism: The lack of approval from SEBI and the significant drop in valuation have led to skepticism about Oyo’s financial health and business model.
  2. Potential: Despite current challenges, some investors remain optimistic about Oyo’s potential to disrupt the budget hotel industry and achieve long-term success.

Oyo’s decision to withdraw its IPO application for the second time underscores the significant challenges the company faces as it seeks to stabilize its financial position and regain investor confidence. With a valuation that has plummeted from $10 billion to as low as $2 billion, the road ahead for Oyo is fraught with uncertainty. However, with strategic adjustments and a focus on sustainable growth, the startup may still find a path to recovery and success in the highly competitive hospitality industry.

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Featured Image courtesy of The Hindu BusinessLine

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

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