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CCI approves BYJU’S acquisition of Aakash

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the proposed merger of Byju’s, the country’s largest online edtech company, with 33-year-old brick-and-mortar coaching centre Aakash.

An official release said CCI approved the proposed combination relating to Think & Learn Private Limited (BYJU’S) acquisition of certain stake of Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL) and thereafter merger of BYJU’s and AESL under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002.

The proposed combination will result in merger of AESL into BYJU’S, as a consequence of which, BYJU’S will be the surviving entity. As such, BYJU’S shall effectively acquire complete and sole control over AESL.

According to reports, the deal worth $940 million in a cash and stock.

BYJU’S is a private limited company incorporated in India. BYJU’S, directly and through its subsidiaries, provides online educational services. It offers a technology-based education platform for primary and secondary school subjects, overseas and domestic test preparatory coaching services for entrance examinations for engineering, medical, etc.

AESL is an unlisted public limited company incorporated in India. AESL (directly, or through its subsidiary Aakash Edutech Private Limited, or through its franchisees) provides curriculum-based coaching for K-12 students and test preparatory services for various competitive examinations such as, engineering examinations, medical examinations, Olympiads, National Talent Search Examination, etc.

Aakash will act as Byju’s entrance test preparation arm with a brick-and-mortar focus. With over 215 centres, Aakash provides preparatory services to students appearing for medical and engineering entrance exams, school/board exams, KVPY, NTSE, Olympiads, and other foundation level exams.

Byju Raveendran, Founder, and CEO, Byju’s, said their complementary strengths will enable them to build capabilities, create engaging and personalised learning programmes. The future of learning is hybrid and this union will bring together the best of offline and online learning.

Referring to the deal, AESL Managing Director & Co-Promoter Aakash Chaudhry said his family is giving up its entire stake in the firm for a 70:30 cash-equity deal under which they will receive an undisclosed stake in Byju’s for about 30 per cent of the payment.

This is Byju’s second acquisition in less than 12 months. In August last year, it acquired WhiteHat Jr in a $300-million cash deal.

Byju’s recently received USD 1 million (about Rs 7.2 crore) from the Breakthrough Global Foundation and Saurabh Gupta to support the edtech major’s COVID-19 initiatives in India. The Breakthrough Global Foundation – founded by tech investor Yuri Milner (founder of DST Global) and his wife, Julia – and DST Global Managing Partner Saurabh Gupta have been actively extending support towards combating the coronavirus pandemic around the world.

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