Months after facilitating the sale of its portfolio company Aakash Educational Services to edtech major Byju’s, private equity firm Blackstone has acquired a majority stake in 11-year-old online education company Simplilearn for USD 250 million.
The acquisition will give Simplilearn’s early backers Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners, and Mayfield an exit from their investments. The three VC funds have collectively invested USD 28 million in Simplilearn and will reportedly take away six to 15 times of their investment, local media The Times of India said, citing sources.
Simplilearn’s CEO and founder, Krishna Kumar, will continue to run the company after the acquisition.
The San Francisco and Bengaluru-based company partners with top colleges as well as companies such as IBM, Amazon, Facebook, Caltech, Purdue Online, and IIT Kanpur to upskill early to mid-career professionals. It offers courses in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital marketing, and cybersecurity.
“This is Blackstone’s first private equity investment in Asia in a consumer technology company. Simplilearn is a differentiated player in the digital training space with premium content created in partnership with marquee universities and industry partners,” Amit Dixit, head of Asia for Blackstone Private Equity, said in a statement.
Since early this year, Simplilearn has been on the market to raise around USD 150 million to provide a partial exit for its investors. Talking about the acquisition with local TV news channel CNBC-TV18, Simplilearn’s founder said, “Most of our investors have an exit cycle, and we were looking for an option of providing them an exit and at the same time building our business for the next scale.”
After the acquisition, the company is looking to expand its operations in the US and Europe and add more universities as its partners. It is also set to double its employee count to 3,000.
“We believe Blackstone can add significant value to our company because of its scale, commitment to building businesses, and global network, which will enable us to develop partnerships with businesses and universities as Simplilearn continues to expand around the world,” Kumar said.