Ed-tech Byju on Monday, April 5, announced that it had acquired Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) for $ 1 billion (Rs 7,300 crore).
Stock and cash transactions will strengthen the Indian diversity in the test preparation phase in India. The deal is Byju’s biggest acquisition so far in India’s emerging ed-tech space.
Meanwhile, AESL will work independently to submit the acquisition, with its founders Aakash Chaudhry and JC Chaudhry continuing to direct the company. Byju said the agreement was a joint venture with AESL, which is at the forefront of exam preparation activities. However, the companies did not comment on the financial details of the agreement.
As part of the transaction, the founders of Aakash and Blackstone will be shareholders in Byju. EY was Byju’s special financial advisor on the transaction. Phoenix Counselors was a special adviser to AESL.
Byju’s, the world’s most popular ed-tech startup, is sponsored by market investors such as Mary Meeker, Yuri Milner, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Tencent, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global and others. It is estimated that it has raised more than $ 2 billion in funding to date.
According to sources, the ed-tech giant is in talks to secure an additional $ 600-700 million that will help drive economic growth. In the past, Byjis had acquired TutorVista and Edurite (from Pearson in 2017) and Osmo in 2019.
This is going to be a huge integration in the education space in India, especially in the start-up … Covid has really opened the doors of online education very much and going forward, we believe all types of educational models will be available in K-12, preparatory testing even in higher education institutions, ” AESL Executive Director Aakash Chaudhry told PTI.
In partnership with Byju, AESL will be able to provide students with the education they have provided but on a much larger scale with more delivery channels that can be updated on both live (online and online), he added.
After the merger, Byju will make another investment to accelerate Aakash’s growth, he noted. Chaudhry said AESL would continue to function as a separate organization and expand its presence in the country.
“At Aakash, we aim to transform student knowledge by making powerful and digitally-enabled learning solutions. In partnership with BYJU’S, we will work to create an omnichannel learning program that will accelerate the testing experience to prepare for the next level,” he said.
For more than 33 years, AESL has helped millions of students prepare for medical and engineering entry exams. It has a pan-India network of 215 institutions (including franchisees), with a student enrollment of more than 2.5 lakh.
By 2019, the private equity firm Blackstone had acquired a percentage stake in AESL. While the company did not disclose the financial details, sources said the R3,350 million transaction cost AESL $ 500 million (over 3,545 crore).
“Our combined strengths will enable us to build skills, build engagement and personalized programs. The future of learning is mixed and this union will bring the best of offline and offline learning, as we combine our expertise to create a meaningful student experience,” Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of Byju, he said.
The addition of Aakash is an important step in strengthening the supply of its product, he added. The identified Byju industry reports and says that the test and post-school rehabilitation (high school) is estimated to be $ 7-8 billion in India and is expected to grow by 55-60 percent over the next 4-5 years.
Whether the ed-tech platform will continue to test purchases, Byju said the company will look at opportunities to bring new products and formats, market expansion, and / or distribution opportunities.
Launched in 2015, Byju has more than 80 million students learning an increase from the app, an annual subscription fee of 5.5 million, and an annual renewal rate of 86 percent. Between April-September 2020, Byju added 45 million new students to its place.