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India’s Byju’s Seen In Talks To List In US SPAC, $48bn Value

Byju’s, which offers online education and caters to all age groups, has benefited from a boom in online education as school classes were forced shut by the Covid-19 pandemic


Indian edtech companies are looking to expand their global footprint, especially in the US, while keeping costs on a tight leash.
Indian edtech companies are looking to expand their global footprint, while keeping costs on a tight leash. Photo: Byju's.

 

Tiger Global-backed Byju’s is in talks for a US listing through a deal with veteran dealmaker Michael Klein’s blank-cheque firm that could value the Indian edtech outfit at $48 billion, a source said on Thursday.

Byju’s, which offers online education and caters to all age groups, has benefited from a boom in online education as schools and in-person classes were forced shut by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Discussions with Churchill Capital‘s special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) about the deal, that could happen in mid-2022, are in advanced stages with plans to raise around $4 billion, the source added.

While the negotiations are not final, Byju’s will also consider a dual listing and if the deal does not come through, the company could seek a listing in India next year, the source said.

 

India’s Unicorn Club

Indian startups have been on the up in 2021, with several of them entering the “unicorn” club with a $1 billion valuation, while high-profile names such as digital payments firm Paytm, food delivery firm Zomato, fashion e-commerce company Nykaa have made their public market debuts via huge IPOs.

In the US, several companies have used the SPAC route to go public. SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, are publicly listed investment vehicles that have no operations and are raised with the intention of merging with a private company.

Earlier this year, top Indian startups like food delivery firm Swiggy and Byju’s wrote to the country’s Prime Minister asking him to expedite a policy that allowed Indian firms to list directly on foreign exchanges.

 

50m Registered Students

Byju’s, which also provides learning programmes for competitive exams like Indian Administrative Services, has 50 million registered students and 3.5 million paid subscriptions, according to its website.

Bengaluru-based Byju’s, which counts US investment firm Tiger Global, Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital India and BlackRock among its investors, declined to comment, while Churchill Capital did not immediately respond.

 

• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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