Byju’s said Monday it has acquired Great Learning, an educational technology startup, for $ 600 million in cash, stock and earnings. The move will help the company, which is valued at $ 16.5 billion, to establish itself in the space of higher education and the improvement of professional skills.
The acquisition comes days after Byju acquired US-based children’s digital reading platform Epic in a $ 500 million deal. Earlier this year, the Bengaluru-based firm sealed its largest M&A deal when it acquired physical test preparation service provider Aakash Educational Services in a $ 1 billion deal. So far this year, Byju’s has spent more than $ 2 billion on acquisitions, including Indian rival Toppr, which has yet to be officially announced by the company.
Byju’s said it will spend another $ 400 million to “accelerate” Great Learning’s growth, thereby bringing its total investment commitment to the higher education space to approximately $ 1 billion. Founded in 2013, Great learning, led by Singapore-based Mohan Lakhamraju, claims to have delivered more than 60 million hours of learning to 1.5 million students from more than 170 countries. It follows a mentor learning model and has a network of over 2,800 mentors. The company serves more than 500 corporate partners to meet their talent and training needs.
The pandemic has led to changes in standard work patterns and prompted companies to accelerate the technology momentum, creating demand for more technology-based employee positions. Companies are now increasingly looking to improve the skills of their employees, driving the growth of this category of educational technology. Emerging companies such as upGrad, Eruditus and Simplilearn operate in this space.
“This partnership brings together Byju’s content and technology expertise with the coveted Great Learning career courses at a significant time when the Covid-19 pandemic and evolving industry dynamics have encouraged professionals in India and beyond. everyone to improve their skills, “Byju said in a statement. “With our combined strength, we aim to become a global market leader in this segment,” said founder and CEO Byju Raveendran.
Great Learning will continue to operate as an independent unit within the Byju group under the leadership of its founder and CEO Mohan Lakhamraju and co-founders Hari Nair and Arjun Nair.
Byju’s is backed by a host of prominent investors, including General Atlantic, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers, Silver Lake, and Tiger Global. The startup claims to serve more than 100 million students worldwide. Byju’s, which has been leading financing deals in the local edtech space, has put most of the capital into proper mergers and acquisitions. In 2020, Byju raised more than $ 1 billion from investors. Earlier this year, it raised about $ 1.5 billion from a group of investors, including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin B Capital Group, UBS Group and Blackston in tranches. Byju claims to have added 45 million new students in just six months during the shutdown.
RBSA Advisors analysts estimate that local online education offerings for classes 1 to 12 will increase up to 6.3 times by 2022, creating a market of $ 1.7 billion, while the post-K12 market is set to grow 3.7 times to touch $ 1.8 billion. This growth is projected to be driven by K12, higher education, test prep and skill enhancement categories, they said.