New Delhi: Embattled edtech major Byju's has reportedly suspended its three-year deal with football icon Lionel Messi as a global brand ambassador.
The company signed Messi as the brand ambassador for its social impact arm 'Education For All' in 2022.
According to reports, facing a severe cash crunch, the company has now put the deal on hold and is "deliberating whether to terminate the contract prematurely or explore options for revival".
Byju's has, however, paid Messi for the initial year of the deal.
The Economic Times was first to report on the new development in the Byju's-Messi deal.
The company did not officially comment on the development.
In November 2022, Byju's announced Messi as the first global brand ambassador of its social impact arm, 'Education For All'.
Messi, the Paris Saint-Germain player in French Ligue 1 and captain of the Argentinian team, was to promote the cause of equitable education during his association with Byju's.
"The association with one of the world's most popular sportspersons is in sync with the expanding global footprint of BYJU'S and its commitment to make education accessible, equitable, and affordable for all," the company had said.
Earlier, Byju's became the official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
"I chose to partner with Byju's because their mission to make everyone fall in love with learning perfectly aligns with my values. High-quality education changes lives, and Byju's has transformed the career paths of millions of students worldwide. I hope to inspire young learners to reach and remain at the top," Messi had said in a statement.
Last week, the edtech company said investors have no voting rights on CEO change, after statements from a select few investors surfaced, calling for an extraordinary general meeting to replace founder and group CEO, Byju Raveendran.
Think & Learn Private Limited, the parent of Byju's, said it will continue with the proposed $200 million rights issue after receiving encouraging responses from multiple investors.
In a separate letter to employees, the company accused certain investors of "conspiring" against the company in this time of crisis.