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Exclusive: Byju’s acquires Toppr and Great Learning

The series of acquisitions by Byju’s can literally fill up a small classroom now. The Bengaluru-based company has now added Toppr and Great Learning to its kitty to take the total number of its acquisitions in just 2021 to six. And the total number to 15. 

The latest acquisitions of Toppr and Great Learning are again a mix of cash and equity deals, Byju’s regulatory filings show. 

Entrackr was the first to report on the potential buys of Toppr and Great Learning on February 15 and April 29, respectively.

Filings accessed by our team show that for Great Learning, it has allotted 29,324 Series F preference shares to existing shareholders of the Gurugram-based company which is worth Rs 733.1 crore or close to $100 million. LMK Holdings Ltd and Matrix Benefit Fund received shares worth Rs 682.2 crore and Rs 50.92 crore in return for swapping the shares of Great Learning. 

Similarly, some shareholders of Toppr have also swapped their respective holdings with Series F shares of Byjus. The Sequoia and Tiger Global-backed company has allotted shares worth Rs 426 crore or $57 million to seven existing shareholders of Toppr. 

The list comprises key investors in Toppr including Helion Ventures who were allotted shares worth Rs 178.05 crore, Eight Roads (Rs 87.2 crore), FH Learn LLP (Rs 64.4 crore), Kaizen PE (Rs 54 crore), Learn 2 Holdings (Rs 34.8 crore), Alteria Capital (Rs 7.05 crore) and Ramakant Sharma (Rs 42.5 lakh).

While the full details of both the acquisitions couldn’t be ascertained from regulatory filings, Entrackr’s sources estimated Great Learning and Topper’s acquisition valuation range at $330-350 million and $150 million respectively.

To finance these transactions, Byju’s has also initiated a fresh fundraise by issuing 17,806 Series F preference shares at an issue price of Rs 238,125 per share to raise Rs 424 crore or $57 million. MIH Edtech Investments, a subsidiary of Prosus has put in Rs 333.4 crore in Byju’s followed by Maitri Edtech Special OP Fund’s Rs 90.63 crore.

Importantly, the stake of the promoter group of Byju Raveendran and his family stands diluted to 23.38% post this transaction from 23.4% in June this year. 

Queries sent to Byju’s, Great Learning and Toppr on the final deal size did not elicit an immediate response. We’ll update the post as soon as we hear from them.

Led by former Tiger Global India’s MD Mohan Lakhamraju, Great Learning is an eight-year-old bootstrapped startup based out of Gurugram. It offers programs in the field of Data Science, Analytics, AI, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity and Digital Business. The company has built a strong business and this could be observed from its financial performance in FY20. 

Great Learning claimed that it recorded Rs 325 crore in revenue in FY20 and exited FY21 with over Rs 700 crore revenue run rate.

Mumbai-based Toppr was valued at around $60 million during an undisclosed investment from Axis Capital Partners in February 2018. The Zishaan Hayath-led company, which has raised over $93 million across equity and debt rounds, claims to have 35 million monthly active users and 2 million daily active users on its platform. 

The two acquisitions further cement Byju’s dominance in India’s edtech sector. While Toppr will strengthen its formidable grip in the K-12 segment, the Great Learning acquisition brings an altogether different business – upskilling for working professionals – for Byju’s. With this, the company enters a segment where UpGrad operates, for instance.

Importantly, The Great Learning has users from 140 countries, helping spread Byju’s own global footprint. Byju’s had recently acquired California-based book reading platform Epic for $500 million to expand its wings in the US. It already had a decent presence in the US  after the acquisition of Osmo in 2019. 

India’s edtech sector growth seems poised to move to another level possible, as one of the largest markets globally, China, has been blindsided by possible government rules that propose converting such edtech firms to ‘not for profits, to reduce their influence, cost of education,  and pressure on students. This was reported by Bloomberg earlier today.

So far this year, Byju’s has taken over six edtech companies including Aakash Educational Services, Scholar and HashLearn. The company is also in the process of acquiring Gradeup. Entrackr had exclusively reported the development in April.

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