Byju’s is in talks to raise $150 million from UBS Group AG at a valuation of $16-17 billion, two people familiar with the matter said. That would propel the online education company to become India’s most valuable startup, surpassing Paytm.
Byju’s is also in talks to raise $200 million more from other investors as part of the same funding round, said one of the two people cited above. Both of them spoke on condition of anonymity.
Byju’s last raised $460 million in its Series F funding round last month, led by MC Global Edtech Investment Holdings LP, at a valuation of over $13 billion.
Currently, the most valuable startup in India is Paytm owner One97 Communications Ltd, valued at $16 billion. Incidentally, UBS Group is also in talks to invest $400 million in Paytm, according to a Bloomberg report on January 14.
“There has been global interest to invest in India’s rapidly growing edtech space, and Byju’s is a clear example of that. With the tailwinds from the pandemic, Byju’s is looking to inorganically grow and enter new segments of test prep and upskilling, where it lacked presence. It may do this through multiple acquisitions, for which it is shoring up funds,” the first person cited above said.
Byjus’s is in late-stage talks to acquire upskilling platform Great Learning for more than $300 million, the second person said. However, talks are still on, and the deal isn’t closed yet. Great Learning provides online courses in collaboration with universities to help professionals upskill themselves.
Entrackr first reported about the acquisition talks on Thursday.
Byju’s declined to comment on Mint’s queries.
Earlier this month, Byju’s announced the acquisition of Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL) as it looks to boost its presence in the test preparation segment and add omnichannel capabilities to both entities. Mint had reported that the cash-and-stock deal was closed at almost $1 billion, making it one of the most expensive deals in India’s burgeoning edtech space.
Byju’s raised more than $1.18 billion in FY21 alone, from investors including Mary Meeker’s venture capital firm Bond Capital; DST Global; US investment firms BlackRock and T. Rowe Price; Silver Lake and MC Global.
In April 2021, the company entered Latin America and South-East Asian markets with Byju’s Future School, its one-on-one live tutoring platform. For its global launch, Byju’s teamed up with WhiteHat Jr, which it had acquired in 2019, to offer personalized learning in across subjects for students of kindergarten to eighth grade (K-8).