UPDATE 1-Priceline invests $60 mln in Brazil travel website Hotel Urbano
(Adds details of deal, growth target)
By Luciana Bruno
SAO PAULO, July 6 (Reuters) - Priceline Group Inc has invested $60 million for a minority stake in Brazilian online travel agency Hotel Urbano as part of a strategic partnership ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio-based Hotel Urbano, which was founded in 2011, plans to use the investment to improve technology, execute its commercial strategy and forge partnerships with new hotels, Chief Financial Officer Joel Rennó told Reuters.
Hotel Urbano currently has commercial deals with 8,000 hotels, more than rivals in the country such as Decolar.com and CVC.
Rennó said the company planned to double the number of hotels in the next 12 months before Rio hosts the Olympics in August next year.
After the Olympics, Hotel Urbano plans to expand to Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Mexico, he said.
Booking.com will be Hotel Urbano's exclusive provider for hotels outside of Latin America, and Priceline Group will be the preferred partner for its international packages. (Writing and additional reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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