India: Hospitality chain OYO has promoted Rakesh Kumar to the role of deputy chief financial officer [deputy CFO] ahead of its long-anticipated initial public offering [IPO], which could close before the end of 2023.
Kumar, who has been with OYO for the last five years, will be tasked with overseeing critical operational finance functions, including treasury, controllership, shared services, business finance, taxation, financial planning and analysis [FP&A] and execution of results, compliance and timely audits across the organisation, according to a statement by OYO.
During his tenure at the company so far, he has led the company to more than ten equity and debt raises, taken on business partnership roles, and participated in the acquisition of vacation rental businesses Direct Booker [Croatia] and Bornholmske Feriehuse [Denmark] in 2022.
Also in his new role, Kumar will continue to report directly to current OYO CFO Abhishek Gupta.
Gupta said: “From spearheading our financial reporting efforts to leading complex acquisitions and driving our finance function’s strategic transformation, his dedication and expertise have played an instrumental role in the growth of the company.”
Last week, it was reported that the hospitality unicorn was in talks with private equity firm Apollo Global Management to refinance a $660 million loan and reduce its debt in preparation for the planned IPO.
Previously valued at a high of approximately $10 billion, OYO first filed to go public via an IPO in 2021 but its prospective listing has now been delayed multiple times, including in January when the national Indian capital markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India [Sebi], asked OYO’s parent company to refile its draft IPO papers with certain updates. It has also suffered from plunging valuations for technology firms that also wanted to go public since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Then in March this year, the hospitality chain, which is 47 per cent owned by Softbank, confidentially submitted a “pre-filing” document to resume its IPO this year. OYO has been targeting going public around the Indian festival of Diwali, which falls on 12 November.
The company had earlier planned its initial public offering at $1.1 billion, but this has since been reduced to between around $400 and $600 million despite its announcement of achieving cashflow profitability in July.
On top of that, OYO has undergone a boardroom reshuffle this year, with Varun Jain [OYO India COO] and Gautam Swaroop [OYO Vacation Homes CEO] taking over roles vacated by Ankit Gupta [India CEO] and Mandar Vaidya [head of OYO’s European operations] earlier in 2023.