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James Murdoch and Uday Shankar-led Bodhi Tree invests $600 million in test prep firm Allen

by Akshat Mathur 02 May 2022
James Murdoch and Uday Shankar's Bodhi Tree Systems platform announced a $ 600 million investment in the Kota-based Allen Career Institute on May 1. "Strategic partnerships" and investments, organizations say, will help Allen expand its offerings and accelerate physical and digital expansion in various Indian cities, a Allen spokesman said. The investment comes from Bodhi Tree Systems, a newly created platform between Earth Systems founder and CEO James Murdocch and Uday Shankar, former president of The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific and former chairman of Star and Disney India. The official announcement did not state how much the investment would receive. But a source says the three-decade-old Kota-based test training company, with a presence in 46 cities in India and the Gulf region, is worth more than $ 1 billion, and Allen is likely to further expand its base in the growing space. "We believe that education is at the height of the technological renaissance, which will fundamentally change the way education is delivered and increase its effectiveness ... despite the aspirations of millions of students and parents in India and beyond," Murdoch and Shankar said in a statement.

"Education is a critical consumer need, driven by the deepest transformational impact on the lives and existence of consumers," the duo added.

Allen's investment comes at a time when the test preparation market is in heavy action and traditional test preparation markets are being transformed through investments, mergers and acquisitions. Angkon While Aakash Education last year acquired BYJUs for nearly $ 1 billion, another leading brand of test training, T.I. ME won last month's named edtech player Veranda Learning for Rs 287 million.

Allen's Bodhi Tree investment comes amid loud buzzing that leading edtech is seeking a large stake in Allen, but cannot push through due to a valuation issue.

Founded in 1988, Allen is a leading test preparation brand that prepares students for technical entries such as IIT JEE Mains and JEE Advanced, NEET Medical Entry, Olympics and some other competition exams. "Our partnership with Bodhi Tree is a key component in continuing our mission to further strengthen Allen's reach and influence. We are pleased and excited that the Bodhi Tree team also sees value in pooling their expertise from our educational experience," said Rajesh Maheshwari, Founding CEO. Allen.

Keshav Maheshwari, the second generation owner of the Maheshwari Allen family, said: “Our partnership with Bodhi Tree will not only help us expand our operations in India through technology, but will also inspire our growth path in the Middle East (Asia). .

Bodhi Tree Systems says it will use the shared records of its founders to build consumer-defining businesses to make Allen the first-class digital education company of the future. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Qatar's sovereign investment fund, is an investor in Bodhi Tree Systems.

The transaction is likely to close in two to three months, subject to regulatory approvals. EY Consulting is the sole financial advisor. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas provided legal advice and documentation support to Allen. EY also provides Bodhi Tree due diligence services. AZB & Partners is Bodhi Tree's legal counsel.

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