New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Congress MP Karti P. Chidambaram on Thursday said he has written a letter to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to investigate the finances of edtech major BYJU’s that was last valued at over $22 billion.
Chidambaram called for a probe into BYJU’s for not filing its 2020-21 (FY21) financial results, which the company had earlier stated to file by July 15, saying that it has yet to secure $250 million (around Rs 2,500 crore) capital from its most recent funding round in March.
On March 17, BYJU’s announced that it has raised $800 million (Rs 6,401 crore) from Sumeru Ventures, Vitruvian Partners, and BlackRock. Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of the company had made a personal investment of $400 million (Rs 3,200 crore) in this fundraise.
“A report pointed out that Byju’s filings with the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs indicate that 16,031 Series F preference shares were allotted to Vitruvian Partners on March 29, 2022 for Rs 571 crore. There has been no such filling in the case of Sumeru Ventures or BlackRock since the company’s announcement on March 17. This raises a question of the missing Rs 2,500 crore in the company’s funding,” the Congress MP said in his letter.
In October 2021, New York-based Oxshott is said to have made an investment of Rs 1,200 crore in BYJU’s.
“Nine months on and BYJU’s has confirmed that it has not yet received this funding from the investor, Oxshott Capital Partners has till date only made one investment in BYJU’s,” read the letter addressed to the director of SFIO.
Oxshott invested Rs 1,200 crore as part of the Series F round at Rs 285,072 per share, which was yet to arrive.
“Oxshott wasn’t leading the round. In fact, they were one of the last investors to come in for that round. Out of the total Rs 3,600 crore, Rs 2,400 crore has already come in,” a company spokesperson had told IANS earlier.
Chidambaram said that “BYJU’s has not yet gotten its financial statements for FY2020-21 audited from its auditor Deloitte, and will take more time to file the cost audit Report to the Ministry”.
“This is in clear violation of Rule 6(5) of the Companies (Cost Records and Audit) Rules, 2014. At a time when BYJU’s proposes to expand its business and acquire Nasdaq-listed company 2U at a valuation of $2.4 billion, while parallelly firing employees to cut costs, it becomes pertinent to review the company’s finances,” he said.
The edtech major was yet to react to Chidambaram’s letter to the SFIO.
The edtech unicorn made at least 10 acquisitions for a cumulative transaction value of about $2.5 billion last year.
Multiple acquisitions were made in FY21 and each of these acquisitions had a different accounting style and year, according to the company.
The company recently said the $1 billion acquisition process of Aakash Educational Services is on track and is expected to be completed by August.
BYJUs is also aiming to file an IPO in the US through the SPAC route.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs this month pulled up BYJU’s and its group companies for aggressive mis-selling of courses to parents.
Earlier this month, the Centre warned edtech companies against unfair trade practices.