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India’s biggest online-education startup Byju has signed a deal to acquire Blackstone-backed Aakash Educational Service for $1billion, reported Bloomberg. The deal will be the largest edtech acquisition in the world.

Bengaluru-headquartered Byju’s, valued at $12 billion, had been on a fundraising spree as demand for online classes peaked during the pandemic. India’s second-most valuable startup has been backed by the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg initiative, Tiger Global Management and Bond Capital, co-founded by Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker.

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Aakash Educational Institute has more than 200 physical centers across the country that preps students to gain entry into India’s elite engineering colleges and medical schools. These institutes have over 2,50,000 students .

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According to reports, the COVID-19 pandemic could be the reason Byju’s managed to secure a deal to acquire Akash Educational Services as physical learning centers hit hard by the pandemic.

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Bloomberg reported that the founders of Aakash, the Chaudhry family, will exit completely as part of the deal with Byju’s. Blackstone, on the other hand, will swap a portion of its 37.5 per cent equity in Aakash for Byju’s stake.