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Sunday,19-September-2021

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OYO Hotels & Homes valuation reaches $9 billion

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Hospitality major OYO Hotels & Homes’ valuation has reached the $9 billion-mark, according to industry sources.

The development comes after the latest fundraise of Rs 54 crore or $7.31 million from Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.

In a regulatory filing with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, OYO said that it has raised Rs 54 crore ($7.31 million) at a share price of $58,490 as part of its Series F1 round.

With over 50 products and more than 500 microservices, the company plans to utilise the capital in strengthening its technology stack for delivering an improved partner and customer experience.

Hindustan Media Ventures subscribed to OYO’s Series F1 Compulsory Convertible Cumulative Preference Shares (Series F1 CCCPS) for cash at an issue price of Rs 43.20 lakh per Series F1 CCCPS for an aggregate consideration equivalent to Rs 54 crore to Hindustan Media Ventures Limited on a private placement basis.

The growth in valuation comes after it dropped to $8 billion last year from $10 billion in November 2019.

OYO Hotels & Homes is also backed by investors including the SoftBank Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Ventures, Airbnb, and Hero Enterprise, amongst others.

In October 2019, OYO announced that it had raised $1.5 billion, as part of its Series F funding round. As a part of this round, RA Hospitality Holdings’ infused approximately $700 million as primary capital in the company, with the balance of $800 million being supplemented by other existing investors.

When contacted Abhishek Gupta, Chief Financial Officer, OYO Hotels & Homes told IANS: “We are delighted to welcome HT Media Ventures Ltd. as an investor in OYO. Their support will help us to further build on our unique technology stack for small hotels and homeowners across the world.”

He said that OYO is on a steady path of resurgence in 2021, the company is seeing signs of recovery in its core markets of India, Europe, and Southeast Asia while sustaining gross margin dollars at pre-Covid levels.

“Despite the pandemic, the company’s valuation has held through and we believe this will only improve as the guests across the world gradually begin to travel again,” Gupta said.

Piyush Gupta, Group CFO, HT Media Ventures Ltd, said: “We are extremely excited to partner OYO in its mission of supporting owners and operators of small and independent hotels and homes through its pioneering technology. We look forward to working with the company’s management as it continues to add value to the experience of its asset partners and guests alike.”

Hindustan Media Ventures is promoted by HT Media Ltd which holds 74.4 per cent stake in the company.

Business

Cryptocurrency Hyper Fund under govt scanner

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The government is keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency floating in the market based out of the country folowing alert that agencies responsible to check financial fraud are watching a company called Hyper Fund.

Sources said Hyper Fund, a DEFI by Hyper Tech Group has come under the radar recently. The Group claims to have launched the Hyper Fund to provide a decentralized financial infrastructure. Hyper Fund was announced in mid-2020.

As per the company website it is led by Ryan Xu, however, with the Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) model Hyper Fund has been luring investors with higher returns and such offerings, a common practice under Ponzi Schemes, that got the authorities alerted in the first place.

According to sources, complaints against such Funds have started pouring in several states. In India, the RBI, Union Finance Ministry and SEBI had warned people against cryptocurrency trading. The RBI is planning to launch India’s official digital currency- E Rupee soon.

The Finance Ministry has clarified that Virtual currencies are also not legal tender. Hence, VCs are not currencies. The RBI has also clarified that it has not given any licence/ authorization to any entity/ company to operate or deal with Bitcoin or any virtual currency.

In June 2018, Amit Bhardwaj was arrested at the Delhi Airport by Pune police along with his brother Vivek Bhardwaj in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme. Bhardwaj, started his own bitcoin mining operations and allegedly cheated more than 8,000 people to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore from across the country.

He has lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police special cell, alleging that he received an extortion call and was asked to pay protection money on September 6, 2021. He had setup multi-level marketing (MLM) scam by luring investors to give him Bitcoins in return for promised higher returns, police had alleged.

Regulators in UK have issued warning against such fund and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have warnings issued for both Hyper Fund and Fund Advisor.

On its website, which was first published on in March 23 ,2021 and later updated on August 31, the FCA said, “We believe this firm may be providing financial services or products in the UK without our authorisation. Almost all firms and individuals offering, promoting or selling financial services or products in the UK have to be authorised or registered by us. This firm is not authorised by us and is targeting people in the UK.”

Warning investors about such fund, it further said: “You will not have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so you are unlikely to get your money back if things go wrong.”

The Website used by these companies as per FCA ar http://thehyperfund.online, https://thehyperfund.com/

Decentralised Finance (DEFI) offering through blockchain technology by HyperTech Group, which is said to be based out from Hong Kong, as sources said Indian Regulators and Authorities have started monitoring the situation.

Following the measures taken by financial regulators such as the US Security and Exchange Commission and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, Indian regulators and enforcement authorities have started monitoring investment in Hyper Fund — a Decentralised Finance offering through blockchain technology by HyperTech Group.

Globally, Financial regulators acknowledge the fact that Ponzi scheme organizers often use the latest innovation, technology, product or growth industry to entice investors and give their scheme the promise of high returns. Potential investors are often less skeptical of an investment opportunity when assessing something novel, new or “cutting-edge.” On its website, Hyper Fund claims to be �The Strongest Rocket in Blockchain Finance’

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Business

Greed & Fear: Profit booking, global volatility to impact stock moves

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Sky-high valuations along with global tapering fears will impact stock market movements during the upcoming week.

Accordingly, market observers, pointed out high possibility of profit booking led slide on the back premium valuations and likely absence of positive domestic triggers.

Nonetheless, key indices — S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 — are expected to reach new intra-day record highs of 60,000 points and 18,000-mark, respectively.

Last Friday, the Sensex closed at 59,015.89 points after making an intra-day record high of 59,700, while Nifty ended the day’s trade at 17,585.15 points.

It had breached the 17,790 level intra-day on last Friday.

“Broad market correction amidst high volumes gives the first hint of distribution,” said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

“An adverse US Fed meet outcome next week could accelerate the correction that is typical in September, especially in the US markets.”

According to Motilal Oswal Financial Services’ Retail Research Head Siddhartha Khemka: “Valuations are not comfortable and hence could lead to bouts of profit booking. The weak global cues on account of worry over slower economic growth and rising Delta variant cases globally would keep market oscillating between greed and fear.”

“Nervousness would be seen in the market next week ahead of Federal Reserve and ECB meeting, which could provide some indications on when the central banks will start withdrawing their monetary stimulus and start raising interest rates eventually.”

Any timelines for tapering measures in the US can potentially drive FPIs (Foreign Portfolio Investors) away from emerging markets such as India.

Significantly, the recent sizeable inflow of FPI funds has been credited to have lifted the domestic markets to record high levels.

In addition, Geojit Financial Services’ Research Head Vinod Nair said: “In the coming week, the global focus will be on the policy meetings of a few central banks including the Fed.”

“With weak US job data and inflation increasing at a slower pace, Fed is not expected to hint on taper plans in the upcoming meeting.”

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Covid might shift India’s growth model

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 The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India’s growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led.

In its Ecoscope report, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: “With Covid-19 hurting India’s ‘Household’ (HH) and ‘Government’ sectors adversely, the continuity of strong consumption growth is in question.”

“On the contrary, with listed companies’ financial positions improving and an uptick in household investments in the Real Estate sector (called physical savings), the narrative of investment-led recovery is gaining momentum.”

The report prescribed that various economic participants – households, governments, listed companies, and unlisted corporates — to increase their fixed asset investments in the immediate future based on their financial position.

At present, the listed and unlisted corporate sector accounts for only about half of total investments in India.

The ‘HH’ sector including unincorporated enterprises accounts for 35-40 per cent in India’s investments, while the remaining 12-13 per cent is contributed by centre and states governments.

Besides, the report cited that demand environment is expected to remain subdued due to weak financial position of ‘HH’ and government sector.

“Despite household investments picking up strongly in 2HFY21, given that Indian households bore the maximum brunt of Covid-led losses in CY20 (and CY21), we believe household spending would remain subdued over the next few years.”

It further pointed out that unless ‘HH’, ‘Unlisted Corporate’, and government sectors can improve their financial positions — leading to a demand uptick — a strong revival in investments seems challenging.

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