Byju’s takes over US digital reading platform Epic for $500 mn

 Byju’s takes over US digital reading platform Epic for $500 mn

Indian ed-tech unicorn Byju’s has acquired Epic, a US-based digital reading platform for kids, for $500 million as it continues to expand rapidly by buying companies at home and overseas.

This is Byju’s second-biggest takeover deal and comes barely three-and-a-half months after it bought Aakash Educational Services from buyout giant Blackstone and other shareholders for as much as $1 billion.

The Epic transaction trumps the $300 million deal that Byju’s signed last year to buy online coding platform WhiteHat Jr. This is also Byju’s second purchase in the US, after its $120 million acquisition of Osmo in 2019.

Byju’s said in a statement Wednesday it has “aggressive plans” for international and US market expansion, and that it will invest $1 billion in North America to accelerate its growth. The Indian company, founded by Byju Raveendran in 2015, says it already caters to about 100 million students around the world.

The latest acquisition will help Byju’s expand its US footprint by providing access to the more than two million teachers and 50 million kids in Epic’s user base, which more than doubled over the last year. Epic also has a collection of more than 40,000 popular, high-quality books, audiobooks and videos from over 250 publishers.

Epic CEO Suren Markosian and co-founder Kevin Donahue will remain in their roles, Byju’s said.

Byju’s is India’s biggest ed-tech company and has struck nearly a dozen acquisitions over the past few years. Apart from Aakash, Epic, Osmo and WhiteHat Jr, it has also bought Toppr, GradeUp, Scholr, LabinApp, Edurite, Vidyartha, Tutorvista and Math Adventures.

The company is valued around $16.5 billion and counts a number of global investors as its shareholders. These include Sequoia Capital, the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Naspers, Silver Lake, Tiger Global, ADQ, UBS, Blackstone, Mary Meeker’s Bond, BlackRock, Sofina, Tencent, VerInvest, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Qatar Investment Authority.

Sumit Upadhyaya

The Capital Quest