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Kempner reviews $250 million loan to edtech firm Byju’s amid crises

Davidson Kempner Capital Management isn’t fully disbursing a $250 million loan it had extended to the ed-tech firm Byju’s as the US hedge fund reviews the lending decision in light of an escalating crisis at the company, according to people familiar with the matter.

The fund, which manages more than $38 billion, has given out less than half of the $250 million of convertible debt it had offered the start-up as some loan agreement covenants weren’t met, the people said, asking not to be named as the information isn’t public. 

The firm is reviewing its lending decision after the company lost its auditor and three board members in the same week, raising questions about its accounting practices.

The US firm’s decision to hold back funds poses a fresh headache for the company that is trying to boost investor confidence through a proposed $1 billion fund raise. Byju’s has also skipped payments on a $1.2 billion term loan and triggered a legal fight with creditors seeking quicker repayment.

Spokespersons for Davidson Kempner and Byju’s declined to comment.

The firm, valued at $22 billion in its latest funding round, has been facing problems since it missed several deadlines to file audited financial accounts. The company has also been laying off thousands of employees as it seeks to cut costs.

Representatives of three influential backers — Peak XV, Prosus NV and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative — quit Byju’s board in the same week that Deloitte Haskins & Sells resigned as its auditor, underscoring a rapid erosion of trust within the company’s ranks.

First Published: Jun 28 2023 | 11:32 PM IST

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