WhiteHat Jr to be rebranded Byju’s Future School amid cash crunch

Embattled edtech major Byju’s has decided to rebrand its wholly-owned subsidiary, WhiteHat Jr, while integrating the coding company’s assets into other business verticals, including its holding entity, Think & Learn Pvt, according to the sources.

The edtech giant will rebrand WhiteHat Jr as Byju’s Future School with an expanded offline presence. In 2020, Byju’s had acquired WhiteHat Jr for $300 million cash deal, which has been one of the company’s biggest loss-making subsidiaries.

The edtech major has infused over $100 million into the company since the acquisition for expansion. The merger and the rebrand to Byju’s Future School could potentially aid the edtech in mitigating some financial losses, considering its present constrained cash position.

  • Also read: Top executives from Byju’s Tuition Centre resign, company to let go of 3,000-3,500 employees

Recently, WhiteHat Jr Chief Executive Officer Ananya Tripathi decided to tender her resignation, reported businessline. Karan Bajaj, the founder of WhiteHat Jr, resigned as CEO a year after the company was acquired. Trupti Mukker, a Byju’s executive, was appointed as the CEO of WhiteHat Jr before Tripathi took charge.

This comes at a time when the company has decided to lay off around 3,000-3,500 employees over the next few weeks, as part of a restructuring exercise under the leadership of new India CEO, Arjun Mohan. The layoffs will impact India-based employees of Think and Learn Pvt Ltd, the parent company which operates Byju’s, said sources.

“The layoffs will impact the employees of Byju’s, especially the sales team, both on-roll and contractual employees,” said a person familiar with the development.

  • Also read: Byju’s denies allegations of hiding $500 million in offbeat hedge fund

Nearly 1,000 of the impacted employees were under a performance improvement plan, added the source.

“We are in the final stages of a business restructuring exercise to simplify operating structures, reduce the cost base and better cash flow management. Byju’s new India CEO, Arjun Mohan, will be completing this process in the next few weeks and will steer a revamped and sustainable operation ahead,” said a spokesperson.

The troubled edtech major is grappling with a severe cash crunch, and has also given up office space, exploring a sale of subsidiaries and raising external funding, among other measures.

  • Also read: Byju’s puts Epic, Great Learning on block for $750-$800 m

While Byju’s Tuition Centre top executives have resigned as a part of this restructuring exercise. Asheesh Sharma, who was handling academics at Byju’s Tuition Centre, and Surendra Pandey, the regional director of the hybrid learning arm, have resigned, said sources.

Recently, the edtech firm had put two of its assets Epic and Great Learning on the chopping block to generate about $750 million-$800 million, as the company looks to repay the $1.2 billion Term Loan B, reported businessline.

Earlier this month, the edtech firm had sent a proposal to its lenders to repay its entire $1.2 billion term loan B within the next six months, with an upfront payment of $300 million in the next three months.

Byju’s took a $1.2-billion Term Loan B for a tenure of five years with a yield to maturity (YTM) of 6.78 per cent in November 2021. It had skipped its $40-million loan repayment on June 5 of this year and later sued its lenders, alleging predatory tactics.

In May, Byju’s signed a definitive agreement with Davidson Kempner to raise $250 million in structured instruments, linked with the future cash flows of Aakash Educational Services. However, less than half of the fund was released as some loan agreement covenants were not met.

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