BENGALURU: Byju’s, a 10-year-old start-up and India’s most valued firm ($16.5 billion) has spent close to $3 billion in acquiring smaller companies over the last two years. Of the 12 acquisitions the Bengaluru-based firm has made so far, 7 came in during the last six months worth over $2 billion. On Monday, the edtech firm announced acquisition of Singapore-headquartered upskilling platform Great Learning for$ 600 million in a stock-cash mix deal.
It has also earmarked another $400 million for building the capabilities of Great Learning, which the company said, marks Byjus’ strong push into the professional upskilling and life-long learning space globally with a total commitment of $1 billion, expanding its offerings beyond the K12 and test prep segments, and further accelerating the company’s growth plans.
Byju’s also acquired professional test preparation start-up Toppr for $150 million in equity-cash deal to take on the closer rival, Unacademy, which is backed by SoftBank and other big investors. Last week, Byju Raveendran-led firm acquired US-based online learning firm Epic for $500 million. The other major acquisitions since the onset of the pandemic have been $300-million buyout of a coding firm, Whiteht jr, and $1-billion takeover of coaching centre network Aakash Educational Institutions.
Raveendran, who still has more than 25% stake in the company despite adding 30 investors since the company’s inception in 2011, recently said that in addition to acquisitions and marketing spends the company has $1 billion in cash. There is clearly no dearth of interest from investors’ end with some big names like Blackstone, UBS Group, Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin’s B, Zoom founder & CEO Eric Yuan and US PE giant Silver Lake on the list.
Byju’s founder and CEO has said that recent $450 million raised by the company in an ongoing Series F funding round, will be spent towards more acquisitions as well as overseas expansions. Notably, the company which claims to have 80 million users on the platform, has eyed some of its acquisitions to grow user base in markets like US where coding, upskilling and learning K-12 online has gathered momentum since the pandemic onset.” It is not only domestic players, Byju’s is clearly focused on becoming a global edtech giant and Covid has also proven to be a shot in its arm,” said an investor tracking the company. The acquisitions are also aimed at achieving the profitability and annual revenue run rate. The company had reported Rs 1,306 operating revenue for FY20.