According to people familiar with the matter, Byju’s, India’s most valuable startup, is in talks with lenders to raise more than $1 billion in acquisition financing as the online education provider looks to rapidly expand its business.
The Bengaluru-based market leader is in talks with banks, including Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co., about acquiring another edtech company, according to people who asked not to be identified because the information is not public. They did not reveal the acquisition target and stated that the terms of the transaction and funding are still being worked out.
Byju’s, led by former teacher Byju Raveendran, has been on a buying spree in the United States and elsewhere in recent years, acquiring startups that provide coding lessons, professional learning courses, and test prep classes for competitive Indian exams. Bloomberg reported earlier this year that the startup was valued at $22 billion after raising funds this year and is planning an initial public offering.
Byju’s and JPMorgan representatives declined to comment on the financing. A Morgan Stanley representative did not respond immediately to an email seeking comment.
According to information on the platform’s website, the app has been downloaded more than 150 million times, and customers spend an average of 71 minutes per day on the app. Think & Learn Pvt. education is backed by prominent global investors such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers Ltd., Tiger Global Management, and Sequoia Capital India.
After schools and tutoring centres were forced to close their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing parents, teachers, and students to seek alternative learning resources, the popularity of online classes soared in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people with one of the world’s youngest populations. Byju’s has also expanded its product portfolio to include one-on-one learning with teachers in India and elsewhere, tutoring schoolchildren in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and Australia.