India’s largest online-education startup Byju’s has secured a deal to acquire Aakash Educational Services Ltd for $1 billion. The Aakash Institutes with more than 200 physical centres across the country tutors students to gain entry into elite engineering and medical schools. These institutes have over 2,50,000 students.
Byju’s is valued at $12 billion and it has been looking at expanding as demand of online classes peaked during the pandemic.
The deal for what will be one of the biggest Edtech acquisitions in the world should close in the next two to three months, said a source who wanted to keep his identity private.
Byju’s is India’s second most valuable startup and is backed by Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Tiger Global Management and Bond Capital, co-founded by Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker. While online startups have thrived to survive during the lockdown, offline tutoring centres have been shut from March due to Covid-19. In the deal, Aakash’s founders, the Chaudhry family will exit completely, while Blackstone will swap a portion of 37.5% equity in Aakash for Byju’s stake.
Bangalore-based Byju’s was founded by Byju Raveendran in 2011. In August 2015, after 4 years of developments, the firm launched Byju’s: The Learning App. The Byju’s app caters to students from kindergarten to the 12th grade.