Startups

BYJU’s continues acquisition spree, acquires Toppr and Great Learning

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With this, BYJU’s has acquired six startups in 2021, across India and the US.

The edtech company recently raised $1.5 billion from UBS Group, Abu Dhabi sovereign fund ADQ, Blackstone Group LP among others, at a valuation of $16.5 billion, making it the highest valued Indian startup, as it overtook IPO-bound Paytm’s $16 billion valuation.

BYJU’s is expected to shell out $600 million to acquire Great Learning and another $150 million for the acquisition of Toppr, said an individual close to the discussions.

Considering the current set of acquisitions, BYJU’s has already shelled out more than $2.2 billion in acquiring complementary businesses in 2021 alone.

Through the acquisition of Great Learning, BYJU’s will now enter the upskilling and reskilling segment, which already sees heavy competition from the likes of upGrad and Blackstone-backed Simplilearn. The acquisition is also expected to increase BYJU’s offerings for the international markets.

Seven-year old Great Learning provides higher learning degree, diploma and certificate courses across domains of data science, digital marketing, artificial intelligence and machine learning etc., in association with recognised universities globally.

According to regulatory filings, through a share swap, Great Learning’s existing shareholders LMK Holdings Ltd. and Matrix Benefit Trust have been allotted BYJU’s Series F preference shares worth 733.1 crore (or roughly $98 million).

For exchange of its Series F shares, BYJU’s will be acquiring 25.83 lakh ordinary shares in Great Learning Education Pte. Ltd., filings show.

BYJU’s will be offering 17,036 Series F preference shares to Toppr’s existing shareholders including – Helion Venture Partners, Eight Roads, Alteria Capital, Ramakant Sharma, founder of Livspace; Kaizen PE, FH Learn LLP, and Learn 2 Holdings Ltd. worth 425.9 crore (or roughly $57.2 million), on the higher end of the price band.

Founded in 2013, Toppr, at present provides a learning app for the kindergarten to 12 (K-12) students, allowing them to take live classes, tests and view recorded learning content. It also provides a school management solution School OS, helping educational institutions conduct online classes. Other offerings include its exam preparation app, ‘Answr’ and code-learning offering, ‘Codr’.

Post the issue, shareholders of Great Learning and Toppr will hold 1% in BYJU’s.

BYJU’s acquisition in Toppr will help it consolidate and improve its market position in the K-12 learning segment, where it faces heavy competition from the likes of Softbank-backed Unacademy and Tiger Global-backed Vedantu.

As a part of the fresh issue of Series F shares, BYJU’s has also raised 333.36 crores (or $44.79 million) from existing investor MIH Edtech Investments B.V., a subsidiary of Naspers, taking its total stake in BYJU’s parent Think & Learn Pvt. Ltd. to 10.01%. Entrackr first reported about the development on Saturday.

BYJU’s latest acquisition comes just a week after it shelled out $500 million to acquire US-based Epic, an online reading platform for kids. In April, this year, it also signed one of the largest acquisition deals in the Indian edtech space, by acquiring Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) for about $1 billion.

The company is actively looking to enter newer international geographies, and recently set foot in Latin America and South-east Asian markets with the launch of its online tutoring platform, Byju’s Future School.

In an earlier interaction with Mint, BYJU’s founder and chief executive, Byju Raveendran said that the startup is looking to go public in the next 18-24 months, depending on the market conditions.

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