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Byju's set to acquire Aakash Education

It is expected to be a $1 billion deal.

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New Delhi: Byju’s, India’s biggest online-education startup, seems to be on an acquisition spree trying to create its dominance in the education market. After it acquired Whitehat Jr in mid 2020 for $300 million, the online ed-tech startup is now all set to acquire Aakash Education, as per media reports.

The online edtech startup is said to have signed an acquisition deal to acquire brick and mortar test preparation leader Aakash Educational Services for $1 billion.

The deal is expected to be one of the largest edtech acquisitions in the world and is expected to close in the next two or three months.

Blackstone Group-backed Aakash Educational Services runs Aakash Institute, which has over 200 brick and mortar centers and tutors students to gain entry into the country’s elite engineering and medical schools. Its student count is over 250,000.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, schools have been closed and offline tutoring centers have been badly hit. However, online learning startups have thrived, while offline, which has closed schools and tutoring centers since March last year.

Media reports further suggest that post the deal with Byju’s, Aakash’s founders, the Chaudhry family, will exit completely, while Blackstone will swap a portion of its 37.5 per cent equity in Aakash for Byju’s stake.

The online edtech startup also acquired Whitehat Jr in 2020 for $300 million.

Founded by Byju Raveendran, Byju’s is currently valued at $12 billion and has been on a fund-raising spree as the pandemic has sent the demand for its online lessons soaring. It is backed by the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Tiger Global Management and Bond Capital, co-founded by Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker. Byju’s caters to students from kindergarten to the 12th grade, and has been adding over five million users a month. India has about 250 million students in the K-12 grades. The app provides lessons in maths and science through video animations and games.

Last year, the online edtech startup announced that more than 70 million users logged in from over 1,700 cities around the country. Of these, over 4.5 million are paid users. It’s targeting doubling its revenues to $1 billion in the current financial year ending in March 2021.

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