India: Prosus writes off Byju's investment, records $493m loss

India: Prosus writes off Byju's investment, records $493m loss

FILE PHOTO: People walk past an advertising hoarding of Byju's, an Education Technology company and one of India's biggest startup, outside one of its branch in New Delhi, India, June 23, 2023. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

Netherlands-based technology investor Prosus has written off the value of its 9.6% stake in Byju’s, once considered one of the most valued startups in India.

“In the current financial year, the group wrote off the fair value of its 9.6% effective interest in Byju’s due to the decrease in value for equity investors. A fair value loss of$493 million was recognised in other comprehensive income in the current year,” Prosus wrote in its 2024 annual report.

Once considered the poster child of edtech in India with a peak valuation of about $22 billion, the Indian edtech company has been under scrutiny for a host of issues. This has led to its shareholders pushing for significant changes, including the ouster of founder Byju Raveendran. Compounding the turmoil, the company has witnessed the resignation of its auditor, Deloitte, and several board members.

This comes days after US global investment management firm BlackRock valued its stake in Byju’s at $0, while US-based asset management company Baron Capital Group also reduced the valuation of its stake in the edtech firm by 99.85%.

In January, BlackRock had marked down the implied valuation of Byju’s to about $1 billion, an over 95% drop from its highest valuation of $22 billion in 2022. Baron Capital holds 15,334 shares through Baron Emerging Markets Fund and 9,201 shares via Baron Global Advantage Fund. In its filings with the US SEC, Baron appraised its investment in Byju’s at $75,485 and $45,294, respectively.

Prosus NV, along with other investors such as General Atlantic, Sofina, and Peak XV Partners, with support from Tiger Global and Owl Ventures, recently moved the National Company Law Tribunal against a recent $200-million rights issue at a 99% discount to its peak valuation of $22 billion.

Edited by: Joymitra Rai

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