In a move aimed at increasing control over the company, Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal is reportedly looking to up his stake in the company to 30%. According to a report coming in from Economic Times, Agarwal is looking to buy stakes held by early Oyo investors, including Lightspeed, Sequoia among others.
The buy-back, according to sources cited by ET, could see Agarwal paying anything in the vicinity of $1.5-$ Billion. In order to finance the same, he is looking at secured debt from banks and other financial institutions in India, Japan and Europe. There has been no official word from the company on the same.
“While Agarwal will buy $1.5 billion worth of shares from Sequoia and Lightspeed, another $500 million will come in the form of primary capital. The primary part of the deal may see existing investors also pitch in,” said a person privy to the details. The $500 million in primary capital will go into the company’s coffers, he added.
If this buy back program does go through, Agarwal, along with the management, will emerge as the second-largest shareholder after SoftBank Vision Fund, which owns almost 48% of the company. As per recently drawn clauses by Oyo, the Japanese group cannot increase its ownership beyond 49.9% without receiving approvals from Agarwal, Sequoia, Lightspeed and Greenoaks Capital.
Agarwal’s intent for a greater control within the company he founded isn’t new though. India, in the past half a decade, has seen massive capital inflow from one particular investor — Softbank. However, multiple rounds from the same investor, and that too to the tune which Softbank generally does, have resulted in founders loosing majority in the company.
Similar attempts have been made in the past by Ola cabs’ founder Bhavish Agarwal as well. His attempts have revolved around raising capital from investors other than Softbank, most recent of which was a large infusion by billionaire Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal.