According to sources, struggling edtech company Byju's has formed a working group with its founders and major investors in an attempt to strengthen ties with its important stakeholders and improve coordination surrounding its ongoing restructuring initiatives and divestment.
Investors Prosus, Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia), General Atlantic, Sofina, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are part of the working group. The group was established in accordance with the recommendations of the Board Advisory Committee (BAC), which is composed of former State Bank of India chairman Rajnish Kumar and former Infosys CFO TV Mohandas Pai. CEO Byju Raveendran and the rest of the Byju team receive guidance and mentorship from the BAC.
Byju's promoters have been charged with establishing a communication wall with investors, which was mentioned as one of the reasons three board members resigned in June, bringing the company's relationship with stakeholders to a low point. GV Ravishankar of Peak XV, Vivian Wu of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Russell Dreisenstock of Prosus resigned from the board, with both pointing to the company's governance practises as the reason for their resignation.
“One of the complaints was that Byju was not engaging with investors. This (formation of working group) is something that Pai and Kumar have suggested. It is a working group, not like an advisory council. The group will have regular interactions, and promoters will keep them informed about progress of the restructuring and the other important corporate level developments,” said one of the people aware of the developments at the company.
Byju Raveendran, wife Divya Gokulnath, and brother Riju Ravindran, the company's promoters and current board members, will update the working group on the status of the sales of Great Learning and Epic, the debt settlement with Davidson Kempner, the $1.2-billion Term-Loan B (TLB), the resolution of the dispute with the promoters of Aakash regarding share swap, and the discussions surrounding the company's new funding round.
The creation of the working group comes after the company decided to sell off two of its group companies, the US-based digital reading platform Epic for kids and the higher education platform Great Learning, in order to raise money right away to pay off its debt to the TLB. The corporation anticipates making around a billion dollars from these divestments. Sources claim that Byju's will first divest Epic, the business it bought in July 2021 for $500 million in cash and stock. The business has found possible buyers for Epic, but it is still waiting on the TLB lenders to react to its repayment plan. If the amendment plan is approved, the $300 million first tranche will be repaid using the revenues from a potential EPIC sale.