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Edtech giant Byju's regrets 'delays' in settling dues of laid-off employees

According to the new timeline provided in an email to sacked employees, employees can now expect to receive their outstanding payments by November 17, as against the earlier September 15 deadline

Byju's

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Peerzada Abrar Bengaluru

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Edtech giant Byju's said it will clear the full and final settlement dues of laid-off employees soon amid "difficult business restructuring".

"We regret and acknowledge the delays in settling dues of former employees," said a Byju's spokesperson. "As we work through a difficult business restructuring, we are committed to meeting all our obligations as soon as possible."

According to the new timeline provided in an email to sacked employees, employees can now expect to receive their outstanding payments by 17 November, as against the earlier 15 September deadline. "The full and final settlement amount will be released by 17 November 2023," said a person.

Early this year, Byju's handed the pink slip to about 1,000 employees in a fresh round of layoffs. Sources in the company said the move was part of the "optimisation" strategy that the edtech firm had announced last year, which included sacking 2,500 workers.

Also Read: India's largest edtech firm Byju's sacks 1,000 more; count jumps to 3,500

Byju's has decided to put two of its key assets -- Epic and Great Learning -- on the block to generate $800 million to $1 billion in cash, with an aim to meet the edtech firm's various commitments, including repaying the entire $1.2 billion term loan B (TLB) within six months, according to sources.

The cash-strapped company has proposed repaying $300 million of the $1.2 billion loan in the next three months, depending on whether the lenders accept Byju's amendment proposal, said people familiar with the development.

In 2021, Byju's was on an acquisition spree to grow rapidly in India and globally as the Covid pandemic accelerated the adoption of online education. In July 2021, Byju's acquired US-based digital reading platform Epic for $500 million, in a bid to expand its US footprint by getting access to 2 million teachers and 50 million children in Epic's global user base. The same month, the edtech firm bought Singapore-headquartered Great Learning, a global player in the professional and higher education segment, in a transaction valued at $600 million, comprising cash, stock, and earnout.

Byju's has been working with bankers to sell the two assets and has received some interest, according to sources. However, it will be a challenge for the company to pull off the sale quickly and get at least the same amount for which it bought them in 2021 and repay the loan.

If the sale of the assets is successful, it will also help Byju's manage its financials and solve other issues. This includes negotiations with creditor Davidson Kempner and promoters of its tutoring service subsidiary Aakash Educational Services (AESL), which is in the midst of a shareholder tussle.

Byju's has raised total funding of $5.8 billion from investors like Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Sumeru Ventures, Vitruvian Partners, BlackRock, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia, Silver Lake, Bond Capital, Tencent, General Atlantic, and Tiger Global.

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First Published: Sep 18 2023 | 10:16 PM IST

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