Byju’s cleared all of its debts to Blackstone by paying the $234 million it owed the global investment giant for Acquisition of Aakash for $1 billiona source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch, addressing one of the criticisms leveled at the Indian tech giant in recent months.
The Bengaluru-based startup, valued at $22 billion, delayed some payments on a roughly $1 billion acquisition of the physical education chain last year, citing regulatory clearance. Blackstone, which is also an investor in Byju’s, owned about 38% of Aakash before the acquisition.
Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of the eponymous edtech startup, told TechCrunch earlier this month in an interview that Byju’s and Blackstone mutually decided to process payments later. The Indian startup cleared the charges this week, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the details are private.
Blackstone and Byju’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night.
The Indian startup, which offers online and offline tutoring services for students from kindergarten to those preparing for competitive college entrance exams, has spent more than $2.5 billion over the past two years to acquire dozens of companies, including US-based reading platform Epicencoding package TinkerIndia based Great Learning, GradeUp, Topper and The Austrian GeoGebra.
It has also made an offer to acquire publicly listed edtech firm 2U, Raveendran confirmed in the earlier interview.
Earlier this month, the Indian startup disclosed its financial statements for the year ending March 2021, after a long delay. Byju’s said it achieved revenue of $305.6 million and widened its losses to $577.4 million in the financial year ended March 2021. Raveendran said about 40% of revenue in 2021 — due to the period of consumption and the duration of credit sales – have been postponed until 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 financial year that ended in March this year. Between April and July, the startup recorded revenue of $570 million, the release said.
Byju’s wants to leave publicly next year. Raveendran said in the earlier interview that Byju’s is closely monitoring macro market conditions and will file for an IPO in nine to 12 months. “I don’t think the markets will turn around this year,” he said.