BYJU’S has announced to acquire Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL) through a strategic merger in a nearly $1 Billion deal. Aakash founders JC Chaudhry and Aakash Chaudhry will continue to lead AESL’s growth and expansion. Aakash founders along with investor Blackstone will become shareholders in BYJU’S.
BYJU’S is an education-tech company which offers learning programs for students from classes 1 -12 (K-12) to competitive exams. Today, the app has over 80 million registered students and 5.5 million annual paid subscriptions (In our October 2020 write up, this number was 50 million registered users and over 3.5 million paid subscriptions). It was widely reported that the platform turned profitable in 2019. Byju’s investor list includes Sequoia Capital India, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Tencent, Sofina, Lightspeed Venture Partners and now Silver Lake Partners amongst others.
Aakash Educational Services Limited:
Aakash provides comprehensive test preparatory services for students preparing for Entrance Examinations, School/Board Exams and Competitive Exams. Company has a pan India network of 215+ Aakash Centers and a student count of more than 250,000. PE fund Blackstone is an investor of around 37.5% stake in AESL (valuing Aakash at around $500 Million in 2019; with this deal Blackstone almost doubled its investment in AESL within less than 2 years.)
Byju’s is disrupting the Indian education space with technology and with this acquisition it is adding offline teaching capabilities to its platform. It said that partnership combines Aakash’s pedagogy expertise in the test-prep segment with BYJU’S content and tech capabilities. Complementary strengths of Byju’s and Aakash will enable Byju’s to build capabilities, create engaging and personalized learning programs. Aakash will expand by adding 100 to 150 more physical centers with support from Byju’s and centers of Aakash will be physical point of contact for services of Byju’s as well creating synergies for both groups.
Byju is on a fundraising spree in last few years with valuations at approx. $14 to 15 billion in latest series F fund raising of $460 million from MC global and B capital amongst other investors. Byju has also acquired US based OSMO in 2019 and startup Whitehat Jr. which teaches coding for $300 Mn in August 20.
Last, an interesting fact: Aakash Chaudhri (MD AESL), Amit Jain (ex-senior MD Blackstone) and Amit Khanna (deal advisor to Aakash) who have shaped this deal are all Indian School of Business (ISB Hyderabad) alumni.
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