Byju’s snaps up Aakash Educational Services to build out omnichannel play

Byju’s snaps up Aakash Educational Services to build out omnichannel play
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5 Apr, 2021

Byju’s marked its formal foray into the offline test-prep market on Monday with the acquisition of Aakash Educational Services (AESL). Terming the acquisition a “strategic partnership”, the edtech decacorn said  that Aakash would continue to operate as an independent entity and further investments would be made in the Bengaluru-based company to accelerate its growth.

Byju’s, owned and operated by Bengaluru based Think & Learn, did not disclose the terms of the acquisition.

However, a person directly aware of the transaction told TechCircle that Byju’s closed the cash-and-stock deal at nearly $950 million.

“It’s a 60:40 cash-and-equity deal. Blackstone and the Aakash founders will become shareholders in Byju's,” the person cited above said. 

Aakash was founded in 1998 by JC Chaudhry and Aakash Chaudhry. New York headquartered private equity firm Blackstone Group had acquired a 37.5% stake in Aakash in 2019.  

“I am happy to have AESL...on board with us. Our complementary strengths will enable us to build capabilities, create engaging and personalised learning programs. The future of learning is hybrid and this union will bring together the best of offline and online learning, as we combine our expertise to create impactful experiences for students,” Think & Learn founder and CEO Byju Raveendran said in a statement. 

Aakash Educational Services runs Aakash Institute, which is a chain of over 215 brick-and-mortar coaching centers that provides test preparatory services to students preparing for medical and engineering entrance exams, school/board exams, Olympiads, and other foundation level exams.  

“Together with BYJU’S, we will work towards building an omni-channel learning offering that will accelerate test-prep experience to the next level,” managing director Aakash Chaudhry said. 

Aakash Educational Services is Byju’s second large acquisition in less than a year. It scooped up coding platform WhitehatJr in a $300-million cash deal in August last year. The edtech recently also raised $460 million in a new funding round at a valuation of more than $13 billion.  

Launched in 2015, Byju’s claims to have over 80 million students cumulatively learning via the app, 5.5 million annual paid subscriptions, and an annual renewal rate of 86%. In just six months during the lockdown, Byju’s said that it added 45 million new students on its platform.