No talks with any co for merger: Aakash CEO

Finance Bill

In NEW DELHI: Aakash Educational Services (AESL), a subsidiary of Byju’s, and the edtech unicorn Unacademy may be considering a potential merger, according to media reports. However, Abhishek Maheshwari, CEO at AESL, maintained that Byju’s and AESL have not participated in any discussions with any company for a merger.

“We (AESL) have a very strong brand that has been developed over the course of 33 to 34 years. When it comes to JEE and NEET coaching, we are already the market leader in test preparation. More than four lakh students are studying with us right now in our physical classrooms and online programmes. We are already fairly well ahead of everyone else in the industry in terms of scale, regardless of the metric you consider, Maheshwari told TOI.

Byju’s had spent over $2 billion on acquisitions (in 2021 alone) and had bought AESL in a cash and stock deal for roughly $950 million during the year. These acquisitions were fueled by the fund flow into the edtech market following Covid, which fueled subscription of edtech services. The sale, which was one of the largest in the education sector, provided Byju’s a solid presence in the brick-and-mortar test prep market, which has historically been an AESL stronghold. In India, AESL operates roughly 320 actual coaching facilities.
The goal, according to Maheshwari, is to keep growing the network of offline centres, many of which have also been given digital equipment to support hybrid learning. Every year, there will be an addition of 30 to 50 new centres. “Our plan is straightforward. We would prefer to be as near to the students as we can be as opposed to grouping them in various cities. India as a whole has high aspirations for these tests (NEET/JEE). In India, we may delve a lot further. Thanks to our collaboration with Byju’s, we have also strengthened our digital capabilities,” Maheshwari stated.

While dealing with a challenging funding environment and a slew of charges regarding unethical business practises, Byju’s is gearing up to list its successful subsidiary AESL on stock exchanges. According to a source, “They are in the process of finalising bankers for IPO.” According to Maheshwari, AESL’s revenues have almost tripled over the past two years, and the company anticipates ending FY23 with revenues of Rs 3,000 crore. The CEO stated, “We continue to be highly lucrative.”