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Startup Digest: Zostel vs Oyo: Delhi HC to hear case on October 7, BrowserStack announces ESOP buyback worth $50 million, says report & YouTube blocks all anti-vaccine content

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Startup Digest: Zostel vs Oyo: Delhi HC to hear case on October 7, BrowserStack announces ESOP buyback worth $50 million, says report & YouTube blocks all anti-vaccine content
Zostel approaches Delhi HC against Oyo's IPO; latter alleges forum shopping
In fresh trouble for IPO-bound Oyo, rival Zostel has filed an appeal in the Delhi High Court seeking restraint on Oyo’s shareholding prior to its listing. Zostel has said its shareholders are entitled to 7 percent mirror-image shareholding in the OHHPL (Oyo Hotels and Homes Private Ltd) as per the terms of the scheme of demerger of OYO's (Oravel Stays Private Ltd) "Indian Business" into the OHHPL -- approved by the NCLT Ahmedabad -- so any market offer should only follow the implementation of this scheme.
OYO has hit back via its counsel's statement in an open blog, claiming “After multiple attempts in the courts and arbitration tribunal, Zostel’s communication shows unnecessary and repetitive efforts to create a wrong perception. This shows a pattern of Zostel trying to distract Oyo from pursuing its business goals. Oyo is willing to utilize the resources in law to protect its interests."
"Zostel had attempted similar subversive tactics in August 2021 by filing a barrage of petitions in the Delhi High Court even while its previous petitions seeking similar relief were pending. Specifically, Zostel had received a notice as part of Oyo’s Section 34 appeal and yet has gone ahead and filed under Section 9 for interim relief. The repeated reliefs being sought are not consistent with an award by the Arbitration Tribunal from March 2021 which has not granted any award for the issue of any shareholding in OYO to Zostel," it added.
The issues between the two companies date back to 2015 when Zo Rooms, the budget hotel accommodation chain owned by Zostel Hospitality, was shut down after the merger talks between the two, which could have resulted in Zo Rooms getting a seven percent stake in Oyo, failed. In March, this year, a Supreme Court-appointed arbitrator had finally said Oyo was in breach of its agreement for the acquisition of Zo Rooms, adding that the latter can proceed to execute the definitive agreement.
However, while Zo claims that it is entitled to a stake of seven percent in Oyo, the latter denied the claim stating that the tribunal had granted no specific relief to Zostel in terms of receiving ownership in Oyo. The Delhi High Court has now adjourned the hearing in the Oyo-Zo Rooms case to October 7, asking the latter to submit the rejoinder on record. Oyo meanwhile intends to go ahead with its plan to file a DRHP for its IPO this week, even as a legal hurdle remains.
BrowserStack announces ESOP buyback worth $50 million: Report
SaaS company BrowserStack has announced its second employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) buyback program worth $50 million, Entrackr reported.
Browserstack’s first ESOP buyback program was executed in February this year. According to the company, the latest buyback witnessed the participation of over 100 employees. The latest ESOP buyback program will be executed at a valuation of $4 billion, the report added. The company was valued at $4 billion when it raised its last equity round
LocoNav expands global presence to 30+ countries with the launch of premium fleet-tech combo
Full-stack fleet-tech startup LocoNav today enabled access for over 250 million commercial vehicles to the 'future of telematics' - a combo offering of AI-enabled Advanced Video Telematics and DashCam at affordable prices, up to 30-40 percent less than prevailing market prices.
With this launch, LocoNav also marks its entry into high-growth emerging markets like South Africa, Australia, and Malaysia, expanding its international presence to 30+ countries, the company said in a statement. In India, LocoNav is adding even more value by bundling mobile data of up to 1GB a day for a period of three years into the combo.
LocoNav aims to use AI-enabled Video Telematics coupled with a range of world-class DashCams to solve the problem of road accidents. "We will continue to identify and disrupt key markets with high-growth potential and a significant number of commercial vehicles as we scale across the globe,” said Co-Founders - Shridhar Gupta and Vidit Jain.
Suumaya recommends an increase in its authorised capital from Rs 12 crore to Rs 25 crore
Suumaya Corporation has recommended an increase in its authorised capital from Rs 12 crore to Rs 25 crore in its recently held Annual General Meeting (AGM). The company has posted total revenues of Rs 2,341 crore during the first quarter of the financial year FY2021-22. Besides, the company’s vitals – EBIDTA and PAT – stood at Rs 85 crore and Rs 63 crore respectively in the Q1 of the FY21-22.
For its shareholders, the company has also proposed a 2:1 bonus issue.
The company aims to offer unique B2B solutions across product categories through innovative distribution platforms ensuring substantial value to its customers. It helps customers moderate their costs and enhance margins and thereby strengthening their competitiveness.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Warby Parker prepares for its market debut: NYT
Warby Parker is set to go public in a direct listing that could value the trendy eyewear retailer at about $5 billion, New York Times reported. Warby is one of a number of direct-to-consumer brands, like AllBirds and Fabletics, set to make market debuts in the coming months. The companies aim to take advantage of sky-high valuations for tech companies and a strong interest in consumer names.
Amplitude valued at $5 billion after shares jump in Nasdaq debut
Shares of Amplitude opened nearly 43 percent above their reference price in their Nasdaq debut on Tuesday, notching up a valuation of about $5 billion for the benchmark-backed analytics company. San Francisco-based Amplitude, which confidentially filed for a direct listing in July, was valued at $4 billion after raising $150 million from Sequoia Capital and Singapore's GIC in June. On Wednesday, its stock opened at $50/share, up from the reference price of $35, as per Reuters. Amplitude provides data analytics tools that enable companies to optimise their products. Its customers include NBCUniversal, PayPal, Peloton Interactive and Instacart.
Google tells EU court payments to phone makers gave Android a chance against Apple
Payments to phone makers to pre-install only Google Search on their devices were not aimed at preventing competition but were necessary for Android to seize market share from Apple, Alphabet's Google told Europe's second-top court on Wednesday. As per Reuters, Google was addressing the General Court on the third day of a week-long hearing as it tries to get judges to dismiss a record €4.3-billion ($3.7 billion) EU antitrust fine and a European Commission order to loosen its search engine grip on Android devices.
The EU competition watchdog had taken issue with two kinds of deals made with phone makers, one being payments for only pre-installing Google Search on their devices known as revenue sharing arrangements (RSAs) because these shut out rivals. A verdict is likely to come next year. The case is Google vs European Commission.
Apple, Google asked to turn in South Korea compliance plans by mid-October
Apple and Alphabet's Google have been asked to turn in by mid-October compliance plans for a new South Korean law that bans major app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payment systems, Reuters reported.
The Korea Communications Commission will soon be drawing up an enforcement ordinance that will accompany the amendment of the country's Telecommunications Business Act. Most of the new laws went into effect in mid-September. The enforcement ordinance is expected to be drafted within six months or possibly earlier, the official said.
YouTube blocks all anti-vaccine content
YouTube will block all anti-vaccine content, moving beyond COVID-19 to include content that alleges vaccines cause chronic health effects or contains misinformation on the substances in vaccines, it said in a blog post on Wednesday.
The online video company owned by Alphabet Inc is also banning prominent anti-vaccine activists, taking down several channels, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing YouTube's vice president of global trust and safety Matt Halprin. These include Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola, who have long been high-profile figures in the anti-vaccine movement. The move comes as YouTube and other tech giants like Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for not doing enough to stop the spread of false health information on their sites.
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