Blackstone takes stake in test prep company Aakash


Blackstone invested ₹13.5 billion (US$190 million) in the test preparation education company, Aakash Educational Services (AESL), picking up a 37.5% stake in the company.

“The transaction was complex and riveting,” S&R partner Mohit Gogia told India Business Law Journal. “It involved issuance of equity shares with differential voting rights to investors linked to certain agreed events.”

AESL is India’s largest medical test preparation provider with a network of more than 200 centres across 130 cities, teaching more than 250,000 students. Blackstone says the stake acquisition will allow AESL access to its expertise and network, in addition to expanding its digital capabilities in education technology. The transaction has received the requisite approval from the Competition Commission of India.

S&R Associates represented AESL and its promoters on the acquisition as well as investments in 100% of its differential voting rights shares by Blackstone. S&R was also involved in negotiating and preparation of the transaction documents including the share purchase agreement, the shareholders agreement, the DVR subscription agreement and other transaction documents.

Apart from Gogia, associates Kanika Khanna, Rachita Bhat, Anshul Chopra and Apoorv Chaturvedi worked on M&A and transactional matters while the firm’s head of competition practice, Simran Dhir, and associates Dhruv Agarwal and Ishika Rout worked on competition law matters.

Trilegal advised Blackstone Group on M&A and transactional issues. It advised Blackstone on the structuring aspects of the transaction and negotiated and drafted the documents for the acquisition of equity shares in AESL, including a shareholder’s agreement with the existing shareholders of AESL.

The Trilegal team included partners Nishant Parikh, Arjun Ghose and Anirudh Agarwala, counsel Jyotsna Jayaram and senior associates Aakriti Shakdher, Rahil Pereira and Snigdha Guha Roy, and associate Shubhaang Sinha.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co and Clifford Chance also represented Blackstone. Kotak Investment Banking acted as the exclusive financial adviser to the sellers.