BYJU'S closes Aakash Educational Services deal at $1 Billion

The strategic merger makes it the biggest acquisition by BYJU'S to date. Aakash founders and Blackstone to become shareholders in BYJU'S

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BYJU’S, one of the world’s leading ed-tech companies, on Monday announced its strategic partnership with Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL), a leader in test prep services, for ‘close to $1 billion’.

This partnership brings together two of the largest education brands in India, combining Aakash’s pedagogy expertise in the test-prep segment with BYJU’S content and tech capabilities, said a statement. After the integration, BYJU’S will make further investments to accelerate Aakash’s growth.

Launched in 2015, BYJU’S is the leader in offering personalized learning programs for school students in India. With over 80 million students cumulatively learning from the app, 5.5 million annual paid subscriptions, and an annual renewal rate of 86 per cent, the app creates personalized learning programs for individual students based on their proficiency levels and capabilities which help them learn at their own pace and style. In just 6 months during the lockdown, BYJU’S has added 45 million new students on its platform.

Over the years, Aakash has built and maintained the highest standards of teaching, result-oriented test preparation for some of the toughest entrance exams like JEE, NEET, NTSE etc. with its expert faculty. Unified by a shared vision to create value for the student community and boost the learning ecosystem, this integration will help accelerate and scale Aakash’s growth in the test prep industry. 

With over 33 years of experience, Aakash has built a highly effective learning ecosystem that has helped millions of young aspirants get into the country's best institutions. In 2019, AESL partnered with Blackstone to create India’s largest digitally enabled, omni-channel test preparation company. Under the phenomenal leadership of Founder JC Chaudhry and Aakash Chaudhry, it will continue to function independently.

Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO, BYJU’S, said, “I am happy to have Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL), a market leader and the most trusted name in the test prep services, 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.”

Raveendran further added, “The pandemic has brought the importance of the blended format of learning to the forefront. As we unite our forces to bring together decades of expertise and experience, this partnership will further accelerate Aakash’s growth and success.”

Founders JC Chaudhry and Aakash Chaudhry will continue to spearhead AESL’s growth and expansion. Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director, AESL said “At Aakash, we are looking to transform student experiences by steering innovative and digitally-enabled learning solutions. Together with BYJU’S, we will work towards building an omni-channel learning offering that will accelerate test-prep experience to the next level. While this partnership will enhance our operational verticals, Aakash will continue to operate as a separate entity with the same passion and commitment with which it’s Founder & Chairman Mr. J C Chaudhry incepted it. We are excited to partner with BYJU’S, and will strive to deliver long-term value to our students, employees, investors, and other stakeholders.”

The addition of Aakash is a significant step towards strengthening BYJU’S product offering. It reiterates the company’s focus on creating impactful learning products for students by adding more verticals, subjects, and languages to the same platform.

Amit Dixit, Co-Head of Asia Acquisitions and Head of India Private Equity at Blackstone, said “We invested in AESL because it is one of the leading education brands in India with a professional management team, best-in-class corporate governance and a 33-year track-record of exceptional results. We have always believed omni-channel will be the winning model in test prep and tutoring, and we look forward to being a part of the partnership between the two foremost companies in Indian supplementary education – Aakash and BYJU’S. The combination of Aakash and BYJU’S is highly synergistic and we are excited to help build India’s largest education company”

EY was the exclusive financial advisor for BYJU’S on this transaction. Phoenix Advisers was the exclusive advisor for the AESL.

Puneet Kapani

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Entrepreneur Staff

Puneet Kapani, features editor for Entrepreneur India, is self-driven and passionate about happenings and nuances of the world. She writes on lifestyle, gadgets, beauty, wellness, entertainment and technology updates around the globe. She has previously worked with L’Officiel India magazine, FHM Magazine and Times Internet. 

Catch a glimpse of her work at @PuneetKapani on LinkedIn and @puneetkapani on Instagram.