Is India’s Ed-Tech Giant Byju’s Eyeing a Possible U.S. IPO?

Contributing Writer
Is Byju's going public?

Mobile learning app company Byju’s might be poised to go public on the New York Stock Exchange, in a deal that if it went through could help pave the way for the India-based juggernaut’s continued growth.

Byju’s, which is India’s largest startup, is considering a public market listing in the U.S. through a financial vehicle known as a special purpose acquisition company, according to Bloomberg News.

The company is currently valued at $21 billion, making it one of the most valuable unicorns in the current global landscape of startups with a valuation over $1 billion, according to CB Insights. 

Preliminary terms to go public via a merger with veteran dealmaker Michael Klein’s Churchill Capital Corp. VII SPAC could value Byju’s at $48 billion.

The two sides are in advanced discussion and could finalize terms in early-to-mid 2022, per Bloomberg. 

As part of the deal, Byju’s would raise around $4 billion. Byju’s has raised almost $5.2 billion since 2015, with $1.3 billion of that coming in 2021 alone.  Negotiations are not final. Alternatively, Byju’s could opt to go public through an IPO in India next year. 

The company did not return a request for comment. 

Founded in 2011, Byju’s seeks to deliver online lessons with video, animation, quizzes, and interactive simulation for students in grades 4-12 in math and science, and it says it has plans to expand to other subjects. Its learning app is designed for mobile devices, and students access the platform via tablets or smartphones. 

The company sells its products in India directly to consumers. Like most other digital-focused education companies around the world, Byju’s has benefitted from a boom in remote learning as schools and families were forced to turn to digital options during the pandemic.

Aside from raising billions of dollars in venture capital, the company’s user base and revenue have jumped this year, and it executed several acquisitions. 

If Byju’s decides to go through with a U.S. public listing using the SPAC route, it would join several other education companies that have done the same this year. 

SPACs are shell companies created for the sole intention of acquiring or merging with another company and then taking that company public. They’re known as “blank check companies,” since investors buying into the SPAC do not know what the eventual acquisition target will be. 

For the companies potentially being acquired, like Byju’s, the SPAC route provides a faster path toward the public markets than an initial public offering.

Two companies — Skillsoft and Nerdy — announced agreements the last year or so to merge with SPACs and go public. Skillsoft, an Irish company that provides cloud-based technology services to governments, businesses, and schools, merged with one of Klein’s SPACs late last year as part of a $1.3 billion deal.

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