Ebix, Inc. (NASDAQ: EBIX), a leading international supplier of On-Demand software and E-commerce services to the insurance, financial, e-governance and healthcare industries, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in India based Smartclass Educational Services Private Limited (Smartclass), a leading e-learning Company engaged in the business of education services, development of education products, and implementation of education solutions for K-12 Schools.
Ebix expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to its earnings and forecasts up to $0.20 in increased Diluted EPS, once the acquisition is fully integrated over the next 6 months. Under the terms of the agreement, Ebix will pay up to $8 million in cash for its stake in SmartClass.
Smartclass is one of India’s leading e-learning companies catering to the fast-growing K-12 education sector in India. With staff strength of approximately 500 employees out of a total of 1000 staff, dedicated to research & development and customer engagement, the Company caters to accredited school education through rich media like 2-D, 3-D, Virtual reality animation etc. Smartclass’s 500-strong sales and marketing staff across the country has helped create a strong growth trajectory, in terms of top line and reach for the Company.
Smartclass today has a customer base encompassing thousands of classrooms, paying for Smartclass e-learning products and services in an on-demand subscription basis. Smartclass will be tightly integrated into Ebix’s Education and e-learning initiatives in India and is seen as one of the many steps, that Ebix intends to take with an intent to invest up to $100 million in the sector.
Ebix Chairman, President and CEO Robin Raina said, “The e-learning business model is typically asset lite and caters well to strong recurring operating margins, once the customer aggregation crosses the threshold levels. We have been eyeing India’s fast-growing e-learning sector for many years now, fueled by education being one of the highest spending areas traditionally for an Indian median household. Towards that extent, we have earmarked a $100 million amount for investment in India’s e-learning sector and the acquisition of Smartclass is a logical first step for Ebix to establish its presence in the country’s e-learning markets.”
“A few years back, we started investing in the healthcare e-learning sector through our Indian subsidiary acquiring Birmingham based Oakstone LLC. Any business-like e-learning where you can create an asset and sell it thousands of times, has strong possibilities of generating strong operating margins and cash flows,” Robin added. “When you consider the strong focus that the Indian Government has put on investing in the e-learning sector in the recent budget, the present nascent state of the country’s education infrastructure, and the fast growth that high tech companies like Smartclass have experienced in India, the decision to take up a strong position in the country’s e-learning markets became an easy one for Ebix.”
Divya Lal,Smartclass Chief Executive Officer, said, ”We are very excited by the possibilities of growth, geographical reach and financial strength that this investment from Ebix brings to Smartclass. We look forward to becoming a part of the Ebix family and replicating Ebix’s international success over the last two decades, to build upon our existing strengths and take a leadership place in India’s e-learning industry.”
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