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They're back. The Brazilian economy and Hotel Urbano have both suffered a very rough stretch. Co-founders Joao Ricardo Mendes and Jose Eduardo Mendes have reasserted themselves in leading the company, but haven't publicly articulated in detail how they will navigate their way out of the online travel agency's current predicament. It will definitely be tough going.

The founders of Brazil-based online travel agency Hotel Urbano have regained control of the company operations after buying back the stakes of investors the Priceline Group, Insight Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management.

Hotel Urbano wouldn’t provide further details surrounding the circumstances of brothers Joao Ricardo Mendes and Jose Eduardo Mendes regaining control when Skift asked for comment.

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Brazilian business publication Valor International, however, reports the Mendes brothers repurchased the stakes of Insight Venture Partners, Tiger Global Management and the Priceline Group, which collectively held more than a 50 percent stake in Hotel Urbano.

João Ricardo Mendes told Valor International that he and his brother repurchased the stakes, adding he may seek new partners in the future. The Mendes brothers continued to sit on the company’s board after stepping down in November 2015.

José Eduardo Mendes and Joao Ricardo Mendes held a 34 percent stake in Hotel Urbano when they stepped down as CEO and and chairman, respectively, last year but remained on the board.

Brazil has been through economic turmoil in the last couple of years and Hotel Urbano similarly was hard hit as the number of hotels on the site and bookings plummeted.

The Priceline Group wrote down nearly all of its $60 million investment in Hotel Urbano earlier this year, citing the site’s poor performance, Brazil’s ongoing political difficulties and the Zika virus fanning out across Latin America.

Valor International reports Hotel Urbano’s valuation was $560 million late last year.

Founded in 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, Hotel Urbano has raised a total of $135 million in funding, including the Priceline investment, according to CrunchBase. Brazil is the site’s strongest market.

Late last year, João Ricardo Mendes said Hotel Urbano still intended to pursue an IPO but current developments mean that is hardly on the agenda.


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Tags: brazil, hotel urbano, latin america, priceline

Photo credit: João Ricardo Mendes (above) and his brother Jose Eduardo Mendes regained control of Hotel Urbano after investors edged them out of leadership positions in the company last year. Hotel Urbano

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