SoftBank pulls out of Latin America partnership with Oyo Hotels

The logo of OYO, India's largest and fastest-growing hotel chain, installed on a hotel building is seen through wires in an alley in New Delhi, India, September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

The Latin American unit of Indian hotel startup Oyo Corp has ended its joint venture with the SoftBank Latin America Fund, less than six months after they struck a partnership in the region, both companies said on Thursday.

Oyo’s business in Latin America, known as Oyo Latam, on Wednesday said it was moving to a digital-only model, and that the changes would require laying off nearly its entire staff.

SoftBank Group has poured $75 million into Oyo in Latin America, part of its more than $1 billion investment in the parent company.

Although hotels in the region can still operate under Oyo’s brand, operations will now be managed directly from Oyo’s home base in India, an Oyo Latam spokeswoman told Reuters.

“The Latin American joint venture (with SoftBank) has ceased to exist,” she said, adding that did not mean Oyo was completely shutting down in the region. “It was another adaptation due to the pandemic,” she said.

Japan-based SoftBank added the decision was made jointly with Oyo due to challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, and that it would no longer invest in the company in the region.

In September, Reuters reported that SoftBank was taking a more direct role in the virus-hit hospitality startup through a joint venture in Latin America to manage roughly 1,000 hotels.

Oyo has struggled across its markets worldwide as the coronavirus crisis pummeled the tourism industry, and has drastically scaled back its workforce.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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