Byju's expands footprints across US; buys reading platform Epic for $500 million

The $500 million deal involves both cash and stock; Epic's acquisition is Byju's second-biggest after it recently bought Aakash Institute for $1 billion

Byju's founder and CEO Raveendran Byju's founder and CEO Raveendran

India's biggest and most valuable online education platform Byju's has acquired California-based reading platform Epic for $500 million (about Rs 3,729.8 crore), thereby expanding its footprints across the US market.The acquisition of Epic is Byju's second-biggest after it recently bought Aakash Institute, which a brick-and-mortar coaching network, for around $1 billion.

The latest deal involves both and stock. The expansion will help Byju's achieve the $300 million revenue target from the overseas market. After the acquisition, Epic founders Kevin Donahue and Suren Markosian will continue to manage Epic's operations.

This is also the second acquisition by the Bengaluru-based startup in the US market after it bought US-based Osmo, an award-winning playful learning platform, for $120 million in January 2019.

"Our partnership with Epic will enable us to create engaging and interactive reading and learning experiences for children globally. Our mission is to fuel curiosity and make students fall in love with learning. Knowing that Epic and its products are rooted in the same mission, it was a natural fit. Together, we have the opportunity to create impactful experiences for children to become lifelong learners," Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of Byju's, said.

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The company will invest an additional $1 billion in North America to accelerate its vision of "helping students fall in love with learning", a statement said.The acquisition will help Byju's expand its footprint in the US by providing access to the over two million teachers and 50 million kids in Epic's existing global user-base, which has more than doubled over the last year, it added.

Markosian, co-founder of Epic, said the alignment of missions and shared passion makes Byju’s the perfect partner, as Epic is confident that this acquisition will ignite excitement for learning around the world. "Together, we can help empower future generations of kids by fostering a lifetime love for reading and learning," Markosian added.

Byju's has aggressive plans for international and US market expansion, and the acquisition with Epic will not only lead to significant investments in technology to further personalised learning for students but also enable Byju's to become a natural part of America's learning culture, the statement said.

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Aakash Educational Services ($1 billion): Ed-tech major Byju's in April acquired Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) for around $1 billion (Rs 7,300 crore). The deal is Byju's biggest acquisition to date in India's burgeoning ed-tech space. AESL is operating independently post the acquisition, with founders Aakash Chaudhry and JC Chaudhry continuing to steer the company. As part of the transaction, Aakash founders and Blackstone will become shareholders in Byju's.

WhiteHat Jr ($300 million): Byju's had acquired Mumbai-based code training app WhiteHat Jr for $300 million in December 2020. WhitHat Jr is a coding platform founded by Karan Bajaj, the former CEO of Discovery Networks India. The ed-tech startup teaches students the fundamentals of coding and helps them build commercial-ready games, apps and animations.

Osmo $120 million): In January 2019, the Bengaluru-based startup acquired US-based Osmo for $120 million. This was Byju's first ever purchase of a US company. Osmo brings physical toys into the digital world through augmented reality and its proprietary reflective artificial intelligence - thereby fusing physical play with digital engagement. Tangible Play Inc. - the business behind the Osmo brand - was founded in 2013 by Pramod Sharma and Jerome Scholler.

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