Stepping up: James Murdoch and Uday Shankar to invest around Rs 46 billion in Allen Career Institute


Bodhi Tree Systems, an investment company founded by James Murdoch and former Disney India head Uday Shankar, has entered into an agreement to acquire a significant strategic stake in the Kota-headquartered Allen Career Institute. Bodhi Tree Systems has announced an investment of about Rs 45.91 billion ($600 million) in exam preparation firm Allen Career Institute.


The details of the deal were given in a joint statement issued by both the firms on Sunday. Accordingly, the deal is expected to be completed in three months. Maheshwari family-owned Allen Career Institute is arguably India’s largest coaching institute, which prepares students for entrance exams.

Keshav Maheshwari, Managing Director, Allen Career Institute Overseas, said that a major part of this investment will be used for entry into the teaching-technology sector. This will be followed by expansion of offline centers in India and abroad. “The $600 million investment from Bodhi Tree will help expand India’s largest and most successful exam preparation company,” the statement said.

Allen Institute was established on April 18, 1988. At that time Rajesh Maheshwari started this institute with only eight students. Presently this institute has 138 classrooms in 46 cities of India including Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Gwalior, Chandigarh and Indore. Allen Institute is run by four brothers- Govind, Rajesh, Naveen and Brajesh Maheshwari, and is named in the memory of their father Late Lakshmi Narayan (LN) Maheshwari.

A person with knowledge of the deal said that “Bodhi Tree and Maheshwari family have reached an agreement. The Maheshwari family is looking to expand its brand in the digital space and Uday Shankar’s vision is to scale the institute into a world-class digital education business in the future.”

Director Govind Maheshwari said, “Our decision to enter into this strategic partnership with Bodhi Tree is based on shared values, principles and the vision of both companies to create social impact through education on a global scale.”

Bodhi Tree Systems is co-founded by James Murdoch, founder and CEO of Lupa Systems, and Uday Shankar, former chairman of The Walt Disney Company Asia-Pacific and former chairman of Star and Disney India. Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign fund of the Government of Qatar, has also invested in Bodhi Tree Systems.

“Allen’s unmatched success and large scale provide the perfect foundation for building the digital education company of the future,” Murdoch said in a statement. We are excited to work with the Maheshwari family to build a results-focused digital education company.”

Reliance invests $1.8 billion in Viacom18

Let us tell you that James Murdoch and Uday Shankar’s investment company Bodhi Tree Systems also announced investment in Reliance Industries’ broadcasting business Viacom18 a few days ago. Bodhi Tree Systems on Wednesday said it would invest $1.8 billion (about Rs 13,500 crore) in Viacom18.

At the same time, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, said that the partnership will help in building an edge in the streaming market. Reliance holds 51 per cent stake in Viacom 18 and the rest is held by Viacom CBS, which has recently changed its name to Paramount Global. Viacom18 operates a streaming platform named Voot as well as TV channels like Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.