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Byju’s approves $230 million payment to Blackstone for $1 billion Aakash deal • londonbusinessblog.com

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Byju’s has cleared all of its dues to Blackstone by paying $234 million it owed the global investment giant for the $1 billion acquisition of AakashA source familiar with the matter told londonbusinessblog.com, addressing one of the criticisms leveled at the Indian edtech giant in recent months.

The $22 billion-headquartered Bengaluru startup had cut some payments for the acquisition of the physical education chain of about $1 billion last year, citing regulatory approval. Blackstone, which is also an investor in Byju’s, owned approximately 38% of Aakash prior to the acquisition.

Byju Raveendran, founder and chief executive of the edtech startup of the same name, told londonbusinessblog.com in an interview earlier this month that Byju’s and Blackstone had jointly decided to process the payments later. The Indian startup approved the payment this week, the source said, asking for anonymity as the details are private.

Blackstone and Byju’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday night.

The Indian startup, which offers online and offline learning services to students from kindergarten for those preparing for competitive college entrance exams has spent more than $2.5 billion in the past two years acquiring dozens of companies, including the American reading platform Epiccoding suite TynkerIndia-based Great Learning, GradeUp, Topper and Austrian GeoGebra.

It has also made an offer to acquire the publicly traded edtech company 2U, Raveendran confirmed in the earlier interview.

Earlier this month, after a lengthy delay, the Indian startup released its financial statements for the year ending March 2021. Byju’s said it posted revenue of $305.6 million and increased its losses to $577.4 million in the fiscal year ending March 2021. Raveendran said about 40% of revenue in FY21 – due to the period of consumption and the duration of the sale on credit – was postponed to the next year.

The startup, which counts Blackrock, Tiger Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia India among its backers, said it generated gross revenue of $1.258 billion (unaudited) in the fiscal year ended March this year. Between April and July, the startup posted $570 million in revenue, it said.

Byju’s wants to go public next year. Raveendran said in the earlier interview that Byju’s is closely monitoring macro-market conditions and will apply for an IPO in nine to 12 months. “I don’t think the markets will turn this year,” he said.

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