Ed-tech company BYJU’S on Monday announced a strategic partnership with Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL), which deals with test-prep services. A release by BYJU’S stated that after the integration, BYJU’S will make further investments to accelerate Aakash’s growth. AESL will continue to function independently under founders JC Chaudhry and Aakash Chaudhry. A report by Livemint states that the deal was closed at almost $1 billion (over $900 million), which makes it one of the most expensive ed-tech deals. In 2019, AESL had partnered with Blackstone to create India’s largest digitally enabled, omnichannel test preparation company. A release by BYJU’S said the partnership will create greater value for the student community. Byju Raveendran, Founder, and CEO, BYJU’S said, “Our complementary strengths will enable us to build capabilities, create engaging and personalised learning programs. The future of learning is hybrid and this union will bring together the best of offline and online learning, as we combine our expertise to create impactful experiences for students.” He further added, “The pandemic has brought the importance of the blended format of learning to the forefront. As we unite our forces to bring together decades of expertise and experience, this partnership will further accelerate Aakash’s growth and success.” Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director of AESL said that Aakash and BYJU’S will work towards building an omnichannel learning offering that will accelerate test-prep experience to the next level. “While this partnership will enhance our operational verticals, Aakash will continue to operate as a separate entity with the same passion and commitment with which its Founder and Chairman Mr JC Chaudhry incepted it. We are excited to partner with BYJU’S, and will strive to deliver long-term value to our students, employees, investors, and other stakeholders,” he added. The addition of Aakash is a significant step towards strengthening BYJU’S product offering. It reiterates the company’s focus on creating impactful learning products for students by adding more verticals, subjects, and languages to the same platform, the release by BYJU’S added. Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL) provides comprehensive test preparatory services for students preparing for Medical and Engineering Entrance Examinations, School/Board Exams and Competitive Exams such as NTSE, KVPY, and Olympiads. BYJU'S launched its flagship product, BYJU’S - The Learning App, for Classes 4-12 in 2015. Today, the app has over 80 million registered students and 5.5 million annual paid subscriptions.