In continuation of the recent trend, another edtech major has issued pink slips to hundreds of employees. Bengaluru-based Byju’s — valued at $22 billion — has laid off about 500 employees at its group companies —WhiteHat Jr and Toppr. It’s a move to drive cost efficiency, according to the company.The number of layoffs, cutting across various department functions, may increase, sources said.This comes at a time when the Byju Raveendran-led firm was planning an IPO. The company wants to go public by next year. It may do a primary listing in the US and a secondary one in India or vice-versa, reports had suggested earlier. Both the US and India are key markets for Byju’s.A company spokesperson confirmed that 500 jobs had been terminated. While another media report put the number of people laid off at around 2,500, the company denied it. “To recalibrate our business priorities and accelerate our long-term growth, we are optimizing our teams across group companies. This entire exercise involves less than 500 employees from across Byju’s group companies.”ALSO READ: Byju's offers to buy US-listed edtech firm 2U for over $1 billionByju’s may also be pushing back payments for an approximately $1-billion acquisition deal struck last year, reports suggested. At the same time, it is learnt to have offered to buy 2U Inc. in a cash deal that values the US-listed edtech firm at more than $1 billion.Toppr is one of the 12 companies Byju’s acquired between 2020 and 2021. The Toppr transaction was valued at about $150 million, which is also a mix of stock and cash. Mumbai-based WhiteHat Jr, was acquired by Byju’s for $300 million in 2020. In 2020, WhiteHat Jr founder Karan Bajaj sold his 18-month-old start-up to Byju’s founder and CEO Byju Raveendran for $300 million in an all-cash deal. Recently, over 800 employees of WhiteHat Jr, resigned after being asked to work from office. The reopening of schools and colleges has sparked a crisis in the edtech sector with falling valuations, slowing funding rounds and faltering investor sentiment.Among others, edtech unicorn Unacademy recently laid off about 600 employees and Vedantu 424. Edtech start-up Lido Learning has shut down altogether.