Byju’s, Education-technology startup is in talks to acquire parts of TutorVista from British publishing and education firm Pearson. Acquisition discussion also includes the online business of technology-enabled education solutions provider Edurite that TutorVista acquired in 2007. Deal size is not disclosed yet.
Pearson acquired a 17% stake in TutorVista from Bengaluru-based entrepreneur-investor couple K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh in 2009. In January 2011, it purchased another 59% before increasing its controlling stake to 80% shortly after. Pearson acquired the remaining 20% after two years.
Pearson is facing trouble in its education business and reported a pretax loss of £2.6 billion for 2016. While Byju’s, backed by the Chan Zuckerberg initiative and flush with cash after a recent fundraising, is looking for international footprints.
The deal is a win-win situation for both of the stakeholders. TutorVista is having a large presence in US market and hence would provide a strong base to Byju’s to build upon. Till date, Byju’s has been a private label and creating its own content. With Edurite, they can now sell any kind of education content from any kind of provider. Also, Edurite has a big database of students, to whom they have been selling worksheets and video-CDs. The data is crucial for Byju’s India business. Edurite works on a lead generation and a call-centre based model, and this will help Byju’s in its sales as well.
The school management piece, which was a part of Edurite, is still with Pearson. The part that Byju’s has acquired is the e-commerce marketplace model.
Since education sector is recession-proof sector, close to $1.1 billion has been pumped into the Indian education sector since 2007 by private equity investors. Byju’s today is the largest funded edtech startup in the country with $204 million funds till date. With its target of penetration in the international market, Byju’s will be facing challenges from bigger players of the same domain.