Yussafali proposes to invest in Byju’s

Byju says education has huge potential for investments

KOCHI/December 06-2020:

MA Yussafali, the chairman and managing director (CMD) of the $7.4 billion Lulu Group, predominantly present in the Middle East and India, has expressed his keenness in investing in Byju’s, the fast-growing education technology company that has helped revolutionise virtual education.

Yussafali, whose business interests are spread over more than 30 counties, expressed his willingness to be part of the list of key investors in Byju’s, the world’s most valued edu-tech company with an estimated valuation of $11 billion.

Lulu CMD was talking at a function organised by Manorama TV on Sunday, where he proposed to Byju’s founder, Byju Raveendran himself, his willingness to invest in the fast-growing education company.

Big global investment firms such as Tiger Global, General Atlantic and Owl Ventures had participated in an investment drive that took place in September to garner investments into Byju’s.

Responding to a query, Byju Raveendran made it clear that he or his firm does not have plans to diversify into any other businesses other than education-related projects as this sector has huge investment potential.

Yussafali diluting stake in Lulu?

Lulu CMD’s name had grabbed headlines in the past couple of months after big names from Saudi Arabia and the UAE having evinced interest in investing in the Lulu Group, one of the largest business conglomerates in the region.

An investment company led by Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also chairs ADQ, reported to have acquired about  20 per cent holding in the Lulu group in April this year.

In October, Abu Dhabi-based investment company, ADQ, announced it would partner with LuLu Group International, in the group’s expansion plan in Egypt, by investing $1 billion.

Again, there were reports that the Saudi Arabia’s $360 billion sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), was considering buying a minority stake in the retailer, which employs about 55,000 globally .

Minority stakes

Apart from the huge investments being routed to set up the Lulu-branded malls in different parts of India, with a couple of them being in major cities in Kerala, Yussafali holds minority stakes in four listed banks based in Kerala and Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), where he is one of the founding directors.

While Yussafali holds 9.98 per cent stake in CIAL, his holding in the four banks are Federal Bank (3.9 per cent); South Indian Bank (4.98 per cent), CSB Bank (2.065 per cent) and Dhanlaxmi Bank (4.99 per cent) – all as of March end, 2020.


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