upGrad, the online higher education corporation co-owned by Ronnie Screwvala, is ready to acquire Talentedge, India’s fourth-biggest online higher education brand, for around Rs 350-400 crore.
“We are leaders by far in the higher education space in India,” Screwvala, chairperson of upGrad, told media. “Currently, we are twice as much as the next player, but we want to grow the gap to 4X before we branch out.”
He continued that upGrad has plastered its leadership position as the most integrated player in higher education in Asia, assisting learners and working professionals over the age group of 18-50 years.
“Talentedge has meticulously built a strong business over the last decade and stayed the course in this space where most did not survive, and we are very pleased to welcome them at upGrad as we build one of the largest edtech companies in the world,” Screwvala stated.
While he declined to reveal the acquisition price of Talentedge, he added that the organisation will do Rs 130 crore of revenue this fiscal year, and multiply that in the next year. But people with the knowledge put the deal value at Rs 350-400 crore.
Talentedge chief executive Aditya Malik responded: “Talentedge will continue to work as-is with its university and institute partners to deliver the quality education to its learners across degree and certification programmes.”
UpGrad has expanded exponentially on the back of inorganic developments in the last one year, having acquired The GATE Academy (November 2020), Rekrut India (December 2020), KnowledgeHut (August 2021), Impartus (May 2021), and Global Study Partners (GSP), the most extensive study overseas business in Australia (November 2021).
Last month, upGrad merged upGrad Campus (formerly Impartus), upGrad Jeet (The Gate Academy), and upGrad KnowledgeHut to combine and create one parent company.
“It was always a vision to be an integrated company. I did the same in media (UTV Software Communication), and even in ed-tech, we will follow an integrated approach,” remarked Screwvala.
However, he added that it appears that upGrad is on an acquisition spree, but it is not. “It may look that we are M&A aggressive, but we are not. I am a firm believer of build versus buy. However, this space is now open for some sense of consolidation. For us, the criterion for M&A is something that becomes very much an integral part of us the next day it comes.”
Cofounded by Screwvala, Mayank Kumar and Phalgun Kompalli in 2015, upGrad freshly turned a unicorn, catching a valuation of $1.2 billion with a $185 million funding round in August.
Screwvala shared the firm is not actively looking for any more fundraising, though there is a “lot of incoming demand”. “At some stage, we might service that also. We have just raised money, so we don’t have to raise more,” he replied.