Blackstone to acquire majority stake in Simplilearn for $250M

Amit Dixit, Head of Asia for Blackstone Private Equity, said that this is Blackstone’s first private equity investment in Asia in a consumer technology company.
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NYSE-listed Blackstone has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Bengaluru-based edtech startup Simplilearn. According to sources, the deal size is pegged at $250 million.

Founded in 2010 by Krishna Kumar, Simplilearn has been profitable for the fourth year in a row, the company said in a statement. The platform offers over 100 programs to help early to mid-career professionals acquire new-age digital skills across Cloud, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Digital Marketing, Cyber Security, and many more.

Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO, Simplilearn, said, the pandemic has only accelerated the need for digital skills and the industry has demonstrated absolute readiness for upskilling online. Hence, this is the most opportune time to take the next big leap in our journey to build the world’s largest digital skilling company.

"We are excited to partner with Blackstone, a globally recognised investor with a strong track record in the edtech sector. 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," said Krishna Kumar.

"We would also like to thank our previous investors, Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners, and Mayfield Fund for their undaunted support and trust in our journey of becoming a market leader,” he added.

Amit Dixit, Head of Asia for Blackstone Private Equity, said that this is Blackstone’s first private equity investment in Asia in a consumer technology company and like many other sectors, technology is disrupting education and education technology has been a high conviction theme for Blackstone in India and globally.

"Simplilearn is a differentiated player in the digital skilling space with premium content created in partnership with marquee university and industry partners. We are excited to partner with Krishna Kumar and Simplilearn’s top-notch management team to accelerate growth and build the world’s pre-eminent digital learning company, and we expect this to be the first of many such investments in Asia," he added.

Simplilearn offers programs in partnership with global & Indian universities and enterprises to enable learners to get academic and industry exposure.

The company is currently collaborating with educational institutes such as Caltech CTME, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, UMass Amherst and the Isenberg School of Management, Purdue Online, Jagdish Sheth School of Management, and IIT Kanpur. It is also collaborating with companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and KPMG.

The company said these courses allow professionals to develop digital skills and help businesses upskill their workforce to keep up with the constantly changing demands driven by digitisation. More than two million professionals globally have used Simplilearn to date, it added.

 

Blackstone, which claims to be bringing global expertise in education technology, has partnered with Aakash Educational Services and BYJU’S to build India’s largest, digitally-enabled, omnichannel education company. It has also acquired Ascend Learning, which provides technology-based educational content and software tools for students, institutions, and employers; and has recently invested in Ellucian (a software provider to universities) and Articulate (a SaaS training and development platform for companies).

Edited by Megha Reddy

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