Prosus writes off $22 billion Indian edtech giant Byju’s

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The Fall of Byju’s: Prosus Writes Off $500 Million Investment, Signaling a Crack in India’s Edtech Boom

The once-lauded Byju’s, India’s darling of the edtech sector, is facing a major setback. Major investor Prosus, the global technology investment arm of South African media giant Naspers, has written off the entirety of its 9.6% stake in the company, effectively valuing it at zero. This move, disclosed in Prosus’s earnings report on Monday, underscores the significant loss of confidence in Byju’s, a company that once held the coveted title of India’s most valued startup.

Prosus’s investment in Byju’s totaled an impressive $500 million over several years, making it the largest external investor in the company. This write-off signifies a dramatic shift in sentiment, particularly considering Prosus never sold any of its shares. Byju’s, once valued as high as $22 billion in early 2022, has witnessed a steep decline in its fortunes.

This isn’t an isolated incident. Prosus has also reported value drops in other key investments. Stack Overflow, acquired for $1.8 billion, saw a 39% markdown, while the group’s stake in Indian online pharmacy PharmEasy decreased by 35%.

A Wave of Challenges for Byju’s:

This announcement comes amidst a string of challenges faced by Byju’s:

  • Financial Woes: The company, known for its aggressive marketing strategies, has been grappling with mounting financial woes. A $1.5 billion loan repayment deadline loomed over the company’s head. Regulatory scrutiny from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs over late filings further pressured operations.
  • Auditing Delays and Regulatory Scrutiny: Auditors Deloitte resigned from the company in November 2022, citing issues in accessing financial records. Byju’s subsequently appointed another auditor, but the delay in finalizing its accounts triggered regulatory investigations from authorities.
  • Falling Valuation: The initial optimism surrounding Byju’s had taken a significant hit as investors grappled with its inflated valuation and concerns about its financial transparency. The company’s potential valuation plummeted to just $8 billion in April 2023, a far cry from its peak.

Prosus’s Write-Off: A Symbol of Market Sentiment:

Prosus’s bold move to write off its entire stake in Byju’s symbolizes the growing skepticism around the company. The write-off highlights:

  • Investor Sentiment: This move signifies a lack of confidence in Byju’s future prospects, particularly among big investors like Prosus. It suggests that the company may not be able to recover its lost momentum.
  • Financial Transparency: The write-off amplifies concerns about Byju’s financial health and the validity of its previously inflated valuation. Investors are increasingly demanding more transparency regarding company finances.
  • The Future of Edtech: The write-off raises serious questions about the future of the booming Indian edtech sector. This event could signify a broader shift in investor sentiment, potentially prompting other edtech startups to face heightened scrutiny and struggle for funding.

Looking Ahead: Uncertainty for Byju’s

While Byju’s has downplayed the significance of Prosus’s write-off, calling it an "accounting adjustment," it is undeniable that this event marks a critical turning point for the company.

  • Debt Repayment: The immediate challenge for Byju’s lies in managing its looming debt obligations. Failure to address this challenge could trigger a domino effect, potentially leading to further financial distress.
  • Regaining Investor Confidence: Byju’s needs to regain investor confidence by providing greater financial transparency and demonstrating a clear path to profitability. This will require addressing the concerns raised by auditors and regulators.
  • Redefining the Business Model: Byju’s needs to re-evaluate its business model and explore ways to optimize its operations and achieve sustainable growth. This may involve scaling back on aggressive marketing strategies and focusing on more financially viable initiatives.

Impact on the Edtech Ecosystem:

The fall of Byju’s has broader implications for the Indian edtech sector.

  • Heightened Scrutiny: The episode will likely lead to more stringent scrutiny of the financial practices of other edtech startups, potentially impacting their ability to attract investments.
  • Focus on Profitability: Investors are likely to shift their focus towards edtech companies that demonstrate clear paths to profitability and sustainability. The focus will be on businesses built on sound financial principles.

A Turning Point:

Prosus’s write-off marks a significant turning point for Byju’s. While the company has a chance to recover, it faces an uphill battle to restore trust and navigate its financial challenges. The outcome of this ordeal will have a profound impact on not only Byju’s, but also the Indian edtech sector, shaping its future trajectory for years to come.


"Prosus has decided to write down its entire investment in Byju’s to zero. This reflects our current assessment of the value of the investment, based on the company’s financial performance and recent events.", -Pro-sus spokesperson.

"We are disappointed by Prosus’s decision, but we remain confident in Byju’s long-term prospects.” -Byju’s spokesperson


Prosus’s write-off of its stake in Byju’s is a stark reminder of the precarious nature of the edtech ecosystem. The fall of a once-powerful player like Byju’s serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of financial stability, transparency, and a sustainable business model. It remains to be seen whether Byju’s can overcome these obstacles and emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the Indian edtech landscape. This story is far from over, but it undoubtedly marks a turning point in the trajectory of the edtech sector, forcing both companies and investors to reassess their strategies and prioritize long-term viability.

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Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson is a tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the industry. She has a knack for identifying the next big thing in startups and has reviewed countless internet products. Emily's deep insights and thorough analysis make her a trusted voice in the tech news arena.