upGrad to buy Australia-based Global Study Partners for $16 mn
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Ronnie Screwvala-led edtech, upGrad will buy a 100% stake in Australia’s largest study abroad company, Global Study Partners for $16 million, marking its first overseas acquisition, the edtech company said in a statement on Monday.

upGrad will further invest $10 million in Global Study Partners for its future growth, the company said. upGrad said Global Study Partners’ acquisition will enhance its foray in the ‘study abroad’ segment, which the company claims to be one of the fastest-growing segments worldwide.

“We span the entire gamut of a learner's need from the age of 18-50 and in that. Study Abroad is a key growth initiative for us - not just out of India, which is one of the two largest markets, but also for our learners internationally,” said Ronnie Screwvala, Chairperson, Co-founder, upGrad.

Global Study Partners, founded in 2015, has a network of more than 600 institutions in western countries like Australia, the UK, Canada and the US. The company also has over 1,300 recruitment partners, which include education and migration agents, schools, test preparation centres, alumni associations, among others, said the statement.

“Global Study Partners' - institutions and recruitment partners - worldwide, will enjoy the benefits that the additional reach and capacity GSP can now deliver, and they can expect significant growth in quality student enrolments,” said Elaine Starkey, Founder, Chief Executive Officer, Global Study Partners.

Global Study Partners will be closing the current financial year with a gross merchandise value (GMV) of $10 million, and the GMV is expected to grow fourfold in 2022, the statement said.  

“Global Study Partners coming into upGrad’s fold will be a needle mover for us to attain a head-start in being a global leader in this segment too,” said Screwvala.  

upGrad cited a Redseer report that said that the number of students from India opting for higher education overseas is increasing rapidly, and the growth has outpaced the domestic student growth by six times in the last three years. Approximately 770,000 students opted for overseas higher education in 2019, the company said, quoting the Redseer report.

The company expects this growth to accelerate further, and sees the number of students opting for overseas higher education doubling to approximately 1.8 million by 2024. upGrad said eight million students would be spending as much as $85 billion in online overseas higher education, as online courses become more accessible amid the pandemic-led restrictions.

“With 150,000 students every year, Australia is one of the biggest destination markets for Indian learners. With these two education giants as key suppliers and the demand in markets combining forces, we are looking to build a revenue of $100 million in the study abroad business in the next three years,” said Gaurav Kumar, President--Corporate Development and Mergers and Acquisitions, upGrad.    

The company has been on a buying spree as it acquired upskilling platform KnowledgeHut and video-learning solutions provider Impartus for roughly $35 million and $20 million, respectively, earlier this year. Last year, the company announced the acquisition of competitive test preparation platform, The GATE Academy, marking its foray into the space.       

Last week, upGrad said that it will be merging its three subsidiaries – upGrad Campus (formerly Impartus), upGrad Jeet (formerly The GATE Academy), and upGrad KnowledgeHut (formerly KnowledgeHut) -- into one single parent unit in a bid to execute an integrated strategy. 

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