06 Apr 2021: BYJU's acquires Aakash Educational Services for $1 billion
Popular online teaching platform BYJU's announced on Monday that it has acquired Aakash Educational Services Limited, a chain of physical coaching centres in the country, for nearly $1 billion.
The online education firm paid $600 million in cash and the rest in stocks to acquire the offline teaching mammoth. This is one of the largest deals in the ed-tech space.
Network: Aakash is one of India's largest offline tutorial companies
Established in 1998, Aakash has more than 200 physical coaching centres in India serving over 2,50,000 high school students in the country.
Backed by Blackstone, Aakash provides test preparation services to students appearing for engineering and medical entrance exams.
According to executives at Aakash, the shift to online studies caused by the pandemic had led it to explore a deal with BYJU's.
Building blocks: The BYJU's-Aakash collaboration will be India's largest omnichannel student hub
Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director of Aakash Educational, said that the acquisition will enable the two companies to build the largest omnichannel student learning hub in India.
He suggested that the offline presence of Aakash and the online approach of BYJU's will offer students a flexible way of learning.
According to some reports, Aakash will be led by the current administration even after the acquisition.
Diverse scope: Future of education will exist online and offline, Byju Raveendran
BYJU's co-founder, Byju Raveendran, said that the future of education will "blend offline and online".
According to him, an online-only model for a few of BYJU's offerings such as its test preparation services is still years away. This is where BYJU's will use Aakash's offline network.
The deal is also focused on expanding the reach of BYJU's and Aakash to smaller towns and cities.
Future growth: Byju's is growing at a rapid pace
With a valuation of about $13 billion, BYJU's is currently the most valuable private internet company in India.
The online ed-tech firm has recently acquired popular online teaching platforms such as Osmo (for $120 million) and WhiteHat Jr (for $300 million).
It is also in talks to raise over $600 million in a new financing round that will value the company at $15 billion.