Oyo sends thousands on leave without pay, India escapes for now

Topics Coronavirus | Oyo | layoff

Founder Ritesh Agarwal told employees in a video message and a note that tough decisions are necessary for the health of the business, and assured workers Oyo would not make any job cuts anywhere in the globe “despite significant economic pressures.”
Oyo Hotels & Homes is placing thousands of its employees globally on indefinite furlough as it tries to survive through the coronavirus pandemic, according to people familiar with the matter.

 
Oyo said in a statement it’s furloughing employees in countries excluding India without specifying numbers, adding that it’s not considering job cuts at this time.

The startup, one of the largest in SoftBank’s portfolio, has more than $1 billion of cash in the bank and is exploring options to remain viable over at least the next 36 months, one of the people said. It hasn’t yet determined the precise number of workers to be furloughed because it is sorting through local labor laws in various countries, said the person, who didn’t want to be named disclosing internal discussions.

 
Founder Ritesh Agarwal told employees in a video message and a note that tough decisions are necessary for the health of the business, and assured workers Oyo would not make any job cuts anywhere in the globe “despite significant economic pressures.”

 
Oyo’s move — tantamount to going into hibernation — is the latest setback for Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank, whose portfolio has been buffeted by WeWork’s implosion and volatile share prices at once high-flying Slack Technologies Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. The billionaire has called for greater financial discipline among the founders in his portfolio, spurring job cuts at outfits such as Zume Pizza Inc. and shutdowns of startups including Brandless Inc.

 
Son has been a keen supporter of founder Agarwal, helping fund the hotel company’s international expansion. Oyo had been growing at a rapid clip, but, as with other travel businesses, the outbreak of Covid-19 has side-swiped the company. Its reputation also suffered due to customer complaints about bad experiences along with grievances about poor or unfair treatment from several of the more than 20,000 hotel owners in its chain.

 


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