The world’s most valuable education technology company Byju’s announced on Monday that it has acquired Aakash Educational Services, a 33-year-old chain of tutorial and coaching centres, for nearly $1 billion.
The Indian online learning giant Byju’s is forecasted to strengthen its leadership position in the world’s second-largest internet market and accelerate its offline growth with its latest acquisition.
The EdTech giant has been in negotiations to buy Aakash since the beginning of the year with Byju’s paying ‘close to $1 billion in cash and stocks for the merger.
The latest acquisition will also help Byju’s expand its presence in the test prep segment and also in advancing its physical presence in the educational technology sector.
The billion dollar deal is one of the most expensive acquisitions in India’s edtech space surpassing its previous purchase of online coding training platform WhiteHat Jr for $300 million last year.
“Our complementary strengths will enable us 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, as we combine our expertise to create impactful experiences for students,” Byju’s co-founder and CEO Byju Raveendran said.
Backed by Blackstone, Aakash owns and operates more than 200 physical tutoring centres across the country aimed at students preparing to qualify for top engineering and medical colleges. The firm also serves over 250,000 high-school students.
Raveendran said that the deal was sealed after negotiations that took around six to seven months.
Aakash Educational Services will remain functioning independently after the acquisition, and it will be led by its founders JC Chaudhry and Aakash Chaudhry.
“Together with Byju’s, we will work towards building an omni-channel learning offering that will accelerate test-prep experience … While this partnership will enhance our operational verticals, Aakash will continue to operate as a separate entity,” said Aakash Chaudhry, Aakash managing director.
“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,” he added.