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EXCLUSIVE: Aakash denies reports of payment delays from Byju’s for $1 bn acquisition deal

EXCLUSIVE: Aakash denies reports of payment delays from Byju’s for $1 bn acquisition deal

Several media reports had recently claimed that Byju’s has sought an extension for the payments to some of the investors of Blackstone-backed Aakash Educational Service.

Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) has denied reports that edtech giant Byju’s has delayed payments for the nearly $1 billion acquisition of the former.

In an email response to Business Today query, an AESL spokesperson said that the media reports carry ‘no true facts’.

“No conversation as such has happened between Aakash and Byju's. These reports are not based on true facts,” the AESL spokesperson said.

Several media reports had recently claimed that Byju’s has sought an extension for the payments to some of the investors of Blackstone-backed AESL. The shareholders of Aakash, including the founding family and private equity firm Blackstone, were due to receive payments this week, but the edtech company has sought a two-month extension, as per reports. Reports also claimed that Blackstone may serve a legal notice to Byju’s for non-payment.

Valued at $22 billion currently, Byju’s also denied any payment delays and said the acquisition process is on track.

"Aakash is our most successful acquisition till date and we are very proud to have them in our fold. The acquisition process of Aakash is fully on track and all payments are expected to be completed by the agreed upon date i.e. August 2022. Along with all our group companies, we continue to be perfectly poised to provide access to quality education in all learning segments from early learning to exam prep and career success," a Byju’s spokesperson said.

The Bengaluru-based decacorn, which is India's most valued start-up, acquired the brick-and-mortar test preparation firm in a deal worth $950 million in April last year.

The stock-and-cash deal, the biggest by Byju’s so far, helped the company fortify presence in the test preparation segment in India. AESL provides test preparatory services for medical and engineering entrance exams, school/board exams, KVPY, NTSE, Olympiads, and other foundation level exams.

“In the test prep segment, we have made a strong entry with Aakash, which we hope to scale up at a 50-60 per cent CAGR over the next three-four years; that’s another billion-dollar revenue opportunity in three years,” Byju Raveendran, co-founder of Byju’s, had said in an interview with BT’s Global Business Editor Udayan Mukherjee in August last year.

After the completion of the deal, Byju’s had announced that it will make further investments in AESL for its expansion. In December, Aakash said it will add 100 more centres in 2022 across Tier-3, 4 towns in the country. AESL operated over 250 offline centres across India.