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Case Analysis

Surya Tutoring:
Evaluating a Growth Equity Deal in
India

SUBRATA BASAK

Financial Management-II

Executive Summary:
In 2010 Surya Tutoring was a fast-growing tutoring academy for high
school students aspiring to get admission to the prestigious Indian
Institute of Technology (IIT). Surya's CEO, R. K. Sharma, wanted to expand
its reach beyond Kota (a city of 1 million people in the northern state of
Rajasthan), which had become the centre of the IIT prep school industry
and home to tens of thousands of students studying for the rigorous IIT
entrance exam. Sharma knew there was vast untapped potential in the
teeming Indian metropolises of Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Bangalore, as
well as in foreign markets such as Dubai and Australia. Sharma had
received term sheets from two private equity firms willing to finance
Surya's expansion. By the end of the month he needed to decide which to
accept: the offer from big bulge bracket fund Blackgem, or the one from
ZenCap, a small Indian firm based in Mumbai with which he had become
intimately familiar during the past year.

Background:
Engineering education is highly regarded in India. India produces about
700000 Engineering graduates annually and growing rapidly. Many
parents wanted their children to study engineering IIT, one of the best
schools in the nation and also well known internationally. Indian parents
would make major sacrifices to ensure an outstanding education for their
children. More than 500,000 students sat for the IIT entrance exam every
year to compete for 10,000 seats. Future demand for IIT enrolment
(therefore tutoring services) looked to remain strong because available
seats in engineering and other disciplines at the top schools had not
grown as fast as the population and the literacy rate, making entrance to
undergraduate schools much more competitive.
Surya Tutoring is one of Indias leading test-prep schools with more than
22,000 studying annually to prepare for IIT entrance exam. About 1600 /
1700 Surya students secure admission in IITs with 10000 open seats.
Suryas value proposition was based on its high success rate- every year
its students claimed more than 15 % of the open seats at IIT. Key to this
success was recruiting and retaining good faculty who were also IIT grads.
But it faced at least 2 risks in maintaining its advantage: first, increased
competition could make it more difficult to place as many Surya students
at IIT, and second, expanding Surya would decrease the percentage of its
students who gained entrance even if the academys overall placement
numbers stayed constant. Surya had a strong record of success in its first
eleven years, which had established its name and credibility. It generated
enough cash not only to sustain itself but also to continue to grow at its
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Financial Management-II

current pace. To achieve higher growth, however, it would need more


money for capital investments that would enable it to open centers and
schools across the country and beyond. It received to financing offers, one
from ZenCap and the other Blackgem. ZenCap, in addition to cash, offered
connection that would help expand the business, one idea was partnering
with technology companies (connected to ZenCap) to conduct remote
classes using video conferencing facilities around India. On the other
hand, being connected with an international firm Blackgem, could be an
advantage, to Surya with regards to its plans to open international centers
such as Sri Lanka, Dubai.

Private Equity market in India


Private Equity in India was clustered into three geographic centersMumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore & was divided into three main groups
of firms:
Big bulge bracket firms: These were mainly based in the United States
or Europe & generally hired Indians who had grown up in the United States
or Europe but wanted to work in India. Some firm in this category included
Apax Partners, Blackgem, KPMB, etc.
Large Indian corporate conglomerates: These corporate private
equity players such as Reliance and Tata invested across the board in
various industries and technologies in India.
Independent Indian firms: These firms were smaller in both fund size
as well as partners and generally invested in much smaller transactions
than the big bulge bracket firms. Firms such as Tano, Avigo and Zencap
came under this category.

Problems Identification:
Though there was a slow but sure shift occurring in the education tutoring
sector and the demand for the same was steadily growing all across the
nation & demand potential could not be tapped by being restricted to Kota
and hence expansion was required. Many tutoring institutes had already
started offering their services in metros by opening branches.
In order to expand Surya Tutoring, Mr R K Sharma needed investments and had
received investment proposals from two private equity firms in this regard.
1.) Blackgem: A big bulge bracket fund with international reputation
2.) Zencap: A small indian firm based in Mumbai.

Following questions need to be answered in this case study.

How much money did Surya need?

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Financial Management-II

Compare the two term sheets and discuss the differences in details.
Which offer should Sharma accept?
Did the deal structure provide appropriate incentives and
governance?

Analysis & Solution:


Proposed investment is smaller than typical for private equity firms. Both
proposals were for minority deals that left the founder with majority share
in the company. The company generates enough cash flow to sustain its
growth at the current pace, but to achieve higher growth it needed to
deploy more money in the form of capital for opening centers and schools
across the country, or seek technology to enable lower-cost solutions.
Firstly, we determine which one we should choose based on the fair value
of Surya Tutoring. First we need do the valuation of the firm based on Free
Cash Flow method. For that we need to have discount rate, future growth
rate etc. Some of the parameters to calculate discounted cash flow are
given and some of the parameters we have assumed. The calculations are
given below.

This valuation of Rs. 481 crores is in line with the valuation from two
private equity firms.
Offer Comparison:

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Financial Management-II

Items
Valuation
Investment
Offered

Zencap

Blackgem

Rs.440 crore post money


@12 times PAT for Audited
FY 2010.
Rs.44
crores
maximum
accounting
for
12%
shareholding.
CCPS

Rs.600 crore post-money @ 16


times PAT for Audited FY 2010

director on the Board of the


Company.

directors. Any additional director


will be elected by the holders of
preferred stock and common
stock voting together.
The Preferred stocks may be
converted at any time at the
option of the holder, into common
stock shares.

Rs.150
crore
shareholding.

for

25%

Series A preferred stock.


Type
of
Stock
Director on The investors will have a The holders of Series A preferred
right
to
nominate
one stock will be entitled to elect two
Board

At the time of closing the


Brand of Surya presently
held
by
the
Promoter
personally
will
be
transferred to the company
for a consideration of Re.1.

Other

Share structure of the company as offered by Zencap:


Zencap
Security
Common Founder
Family
Series-A
Preferred(Zencap)
Total

Pre-financing
No. of
shares
%
15,00,000 100

15,00,000 100

Post-financing
(pre-warrants)
No. of
shares
%
13,36,955 82.0
1,63,043 10.0

Post-financing
(post-warrants)
No. of
shares
%
13,36,955 78.4
1,63,043 9.6

1,30,434 8.0
16,30,432 100

2,04,545 12.0
17,04,543 100

Share structure of the company as offered by Blackgem:


Blackgem
Security
Common-Founder
Series-A Preferred(Blackgem)
Total

Pre-financing
No. of shares
%
15,00,000 100
15,00,000 100

Post-financing
No. of shares
%
15,00,000 75.0
5,00,000 25.0
20,00,000 100

Secondly, we have to consider other advantages and disadvantages from


both private equity firms. Surya Tutoring gains competitive advantage
from ZenCap as ZenCap understands local market and business culture
more than BlackGem. This allows ZenCap to target the right customers
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Financial Management-II

and create better assumptions on business analysis, which enables it to


make an expansion more easily. However, ZenCap values the firm lower
than Blackgem and provides less capital. For an analysis of BlackGem, as
it is an international company with relatively larger size, it lacks of local
market knowledge. Furthermore, Blackgem has acquired a majority stake,
while Sharma is not interested in giving up the control of his firm.
However, beside from an offering of more capital, the main advantage of
Blackgem is that it has more experiences and connection worldwide,
which will offer a great opportunity for Surya Tutoring to expand abroad.

Recommendations:
Though the offers made by both the firms are lucrative considering NPV of
Surya Tutorials, but the conditions mentioned in the Term Sheet of both
the Investors is deterring factor. On one hand we have Zencap, an Indian
Firm having expertise in dealing with smaller Indian firms & also had prior
experience related to education sector and had good connections with
numerous small and mid-level businesses in India. On the other hand we
have Blackgem, a significantly bigger PE Investment firm compared to
Zencap having international repute. It can help the Company cater to its
international aspirations Dubai etc. Moreover it is offering very high
investment amount compared to Zencap.
The Founder Mr. Sharma, appears to be capable of running the company,
but a strong CFO was needed to manage growth and improve company
record-keeping. The company had a total of 280 professors, 70 of whom
were graduates of IIT. Sharma had not shared much equity with the rest of
the team. He is willing to create a separate shareholder pool of equity to
be given to faculty and senior management ZenCaps term sheet provided
for offering equity to faculty; Blackgem did not.
Hence keeping Mr. Sharmas wish to expand in Indian as well as
international markets and apprehensions to excessive dilution of his stake
in the company and willingness to expand in the Indian markets first, we
suggest to with Zencap offer. Though Blackgems investment offer is
more so is its stringency in controlling the company like 2 Directors on
board, any further (apart from pre-selected 4) will be with joint consent of
Blackgem & promoters and Drag-along clause are big detterent.

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