NCLT notice to Byju’s over ₹158 crore BCCI dues

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Bengaluru to initiate corporate insolvency proceedings against its former sponsor Byju’s for alleged default in the payment of 158 crore.

A man walks past an advertising hoarding of Byju’s, an Education Technology company and one of India’s biggest startup, outside one of its branches in New Delhi(REUTERS)

The tribunal has issued notice to the ed tech major and its response has been sought. “Two weeks is granted to the Respondent (Byju’s) to file reply and one week thereafter is granted to the Applicant (BCCI) to file rejoinder, if any, after duly serving the copy on the other side,” the NCLT notice issued on November 28 said. The next hearing is scheduled for December 22.

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In September 2019, Byju’s had taken over the Indian cricket team’s jersey sponsorship from Oppo through a tripartite agreement. To further boost its growing learning app business, it agreed to inherit an expensive contract held by the Chinese phone makers (they opted out). It amounted to paying BCCI 4.61 crore per bilateral match and 1.51 crore per match in an ICC event. Oppo’s original five-year (2017-22) deal with BCCI was worth 1,079 crore.

In 2022, Byju’s agreed to extend the deal at a 10% premium, which was to run until the end of the 2023 ODI World Cup. However, its business ran into trouble and to cut heavy marketing spends it wrote to BCCI seeking the encashment of its contract bank guarantee amounting to 140 crore.

Byju’s, who had been a major sponsor in sports, was also a sponsor with the International Cricket Council (ICC). It had also roped in Lionel Messi as the global ambassador of its social impact arm during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

It took some time for BCCI to fill the sponsorship slot. The Indian team played the World Test Championship final in June without a jersey sponsor. In July, Dream11 came on board for a three-year deal at a reduced price of 358 crore for 150 matches.

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