Bengaluru: 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 expand its business rapidly. The market leader is in talks with banks, including Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co., for the funding to acquire another edtech company.
They didn’t disclose details of the acquisition target and said that the terms of the transaction and the funding are yet to be finalized. Byju’s, led by former teacher Byju Raveendran, has been on a shopping binge in the US and elsewhere in recent years and bought out startups offering coding lessons, professional learning courses, and test prep classes for competitive Indian exams.
The startup was valued at $22 billion with fund raising this year and is working on its initial public offering plans. The platform’s app has been downloaded more than 150 million times and on average, customers spend an average 71 minutes the app every day, according to information available on its website. The company formally called Think & Learn Pvt. education, has prominent global investors, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers Ltd., Tiger Global Management, and Sequoia Capital India.
The popularity of online classes had soared in the country by almost 1.4 billion. with one of the world’s youngest populations after schools and tutoring centres were forced to shut their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing parents, teachers and students to look for alternative learning resources. Byju’s has also expanded its product portfolio to include one-to-one learning with teachers in India and elsewhere, tutoring school children in the US, UK, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Australia.