Setback for Byju's as Australia-based investor slashes valuation by 98% - Hindustan Times
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Setback for Byju's as Australia-based investor slashes valuation by 98%

By, New Delhi
Mar 03, 2024 11:07 AM IST

Macquarie Capital, which invested ‘a few million dollars in 2021,’ was charging clients based on a March 2022 funding round that valued Byju’s at $22 billion.

Macquarie Capital, an Australia-based global financial services provider, has decided to slash by nearly 100% (98%) its valuation of struggling edtech firm Byju's, in which the former invested ‘a few million dollars’ in 2021, Bloomberg has reported quoting people familiar with the matter.

A man walks past an advertising hoarding of Byju's, an Education Technology company and one of India's biggest startup, outside one of its branches in New Delhi. (REUTERS)
A man walks past an advertising hoarding of Byju's, an Education Technology company and one of India's biggest startup, outside one of its branches in New Delhi. (REUTERS)

Also Read: Byju's CEO Raveendran says can't pay workers' salaries, investors blocked funding

This comes after Julius Baer Group Limited, a Swiss private banking group, accused Macquarie of charging clients based on a 2022 funding round that valued the Bengaluru-headquartered online educator at $22 billion, this even after other investors marked down their valuations by as much as 95%, the report said.

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“You continue to calculate management fees based on a net asset value that no longer intrinsically represents what Byju’s is worth. Hence, we believe this demonstrates a disincentive for Macquarie to devalue the position, despite the strong market indications that the March 2022 valuation no longer holds, in contravention of your fiduciary duties as a fund manager,” said Julius Baer chief investment officer (CIO) Yves Bonzon in a letter to Macquarie, in January.

Also Read: Govt expedites inspection of crisis-hit Byju'S

Bonzon also pointed to how, in December last year, the Swiss Bank marked down its own valuation of a feeder firm as ‘we found it challenging to justify the position held by Macquarie.’ It is through the said feeder fund that Julius Baer clients invested into a Macquarie vehicle that has a stake in Byju's.

“We have repeatedly sought clarifications in these matters, yet the response thus far have not provided the clarity or resolution we expect. This issue is of significant importance, not only due to the size of the investment, but also because it reflects on the integrity of partnership,” the Julius Baer CIO's letter further stated.

Also Read: Byju's US subsidiary files for bankruptcy in Delaware

The development, meanwhile, comes at a time when Byju's is already engulfed in multiple crises, including the recent ‘ouster’ from the company of co-founder Byju Raveendran, who was also its CEO. The firm has termed the move as ‘invalid.’

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