MakeMyTrip may take a Stake in Oyo, to Delist Rivals Treebo, Fabhotels

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MakeMyTrip, India’s largest online travel company, will delist all the properties of budget-focused online hotel companies, SAIF Partners-backed Treebo Hotels, and Accel India-backed FabHotels, from its two primary platforms, as part of an agreement with rival hospitality company OYO Rooms, said two people familiar with the development.

Treebo cofounder Sidharth Gupta confirmed the development and said Treebo will continue to work with the other major online travel operators, as well capitalize on its strong direct offline and online channels.

MakeMyTrip’s decision to bet on OYO Rooms is the latest in a series of moves aimed at cementing its partnership with the SoftBank-backed company.

As per reports, the two parties could also explore a potential equity deal in the future which may involve other options, including MakeMyTrip taking a stake in Oyo Rooms.

The move to delist FabHotels and Treebo comes a little over a month after OYO and Nasdaq-listed MakeMyTrip rekindled their partnership. MakeMyTrip has begun listing Ritesh Agarwal-promoted OYO Rooms’ properties across its eponymous platform, as well as Goibibo, the online travel firm it had acquired in 2016.

Treebo and FabHotels operate an estimated 350 and 282 hotels under their respective brands. In comparison, Oyo Rooms claims to have about 4,000 properties, across segments, with over 75,000 rooms.

Goibibo is also promoting OYO properties aggressively and has also ported reviews from the former’s website to its platform to help move up the algorithmic ranking of the properties. As part of the agreement, MakeMyTrip-Goibibo customers will also get a preference to book OYO Rooms properties last minute over other domestic OTAs, like Yatra and Cleartrip, said a third person familiar with the matter.

MakeMyTrip had removed OYO from its platform in 2016, seeing it as a competitor to its budget hotels marketplace. It later changed its view, even as the latter shifted its model from being a pure aggregator of hotels to a hospitality player.

This is also the second time in less than a year that Treebo properties have been delisted from MakeMyTrip and Goibibo platforms. In March last year, Bengaluru-headquartered Treebo, which counts Hong Kong-based hedge funds Ward Ferry and Karst Peak Capital as investors, had delisted its properties from both platforms saying it was being charged a higher commission.

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