A group of creditors to Byju’s, India’s most valuable startup, has asked the company to immediately repay part of a $1.2 billion loan they recently bought into as they renegotiate terms of the debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
The lenders have hired Houlihan Lokey Inc. to advise them on amending covenants after the edtech titan breached terms, including a September deadline for filing its results for the year ended March 31, 2022, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Rothschild & Co. is representing Byju’s in the talks, they said.
Most of the lenders in this group bought the debt from primary holders in September, when the loan slumped to a record 64.5 cents, and are seeking to profit from accelerated repayment, two of the people said. Spokespersons for Byju’s, Houlihan Lokey and Rothschild declined to comment.
The loan was trading at 80 cents on the dollar on Monday, while similar debt from another Indian startup Oyo Hotels is holding close to the issue price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The renegotiated terms that Byju’s has already agreed with a majority of the lenders include providing monthly business updates, hiring a chief financial officer, and increasing the interest rate on the loan, the people said. The company is seeking to restructure the loan as it struggles with steep losses and meeting its cost reduction targets, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month.
However, a small group of creditors are still holding out asking the company, valued at $22 billion, to use its US unit’s cash reserves of about $850 million to prepay part of the year-old loan, the people said. The loan, priced at 550 points over Libor in November 2021, is one of the largest unrated term loan B offerings ever from a new-age company worldwide, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of the deal’s bookrunners.
–With assistance from Divya Patil.