Indian edtech Byju’s global investors confirm board exits

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(Reuters) – All three global investors at Byju’s confirmed on Friday that their representatives had resigned from the board of the once high-flying Indian startup that has been battling pressure from lenders amid a steep drop in its valuation.

The resignations of GV Ravishankar of Peak XV Partners, earlier Sequoia Capital India, Russell Dreisenstock of Prosus, and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Vivian Wu mean Byju’s board now only comprises the founder’s family.

Byju’s was valued at $22 billion in 2022, but investors have in recent months cut their valuation estimates as the edtech grapples with lawsuits, auditing issues and layoffs. Blackrock slashed its internal valuation of the company by more than 60% to $8.2 billion, disclosures show.

In a statement to Reuters on Friday, Byju’s said it is in discussions with investors about reshaping the board, including the addition of independent directors.

A “few” investors had to vacate their board seats as their shareholding dropped below the required minimum threshold, necessitating a board reshuffle, it said.

“We want to reassure all stakeholders that we are actively working towards constituting a diverse … board commensurate with the company’s size and scale,” a Byju’s spokesperson told Reuters.

The confirmation of the resignations comes after Reuters and other media outlets reported on Thursday that three Byju’s board members had quit recently.

Later that day, Deloitte disclosed it was resigning as the company’s auditor because Byju’s had delayed financial statements for 2021-22 and not provided documents, even after sending several letters to its board.

On Friday, sources told Reuters that the edtech was asking its three global investors to reconsider their decision to quit its board.

Peak XV Partners in a statement to Reuters said, “we are committed to supporting the company for bringing on board an independent director in order to strengthen business processes and internal control mechanisms”.

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