Baby products e-tailer FirstCry acquires playschool chain Oi

SoftBank-backed FirstCry, which retails products and operates a social network that caters to young parents and babies, is entering the education space by acquiring Oi Playschool.

FirstCry plans to expand Oi Playschool which currently operates about 55 centers in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

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The deal size has not been disclosed, but it is an all-cash transaction to buy the business from Hyderabad’s People Combine Group, which sold Oakridge Private School earlier this year for Rs 1,600 crore to Hong Kong’s Nord Anglia.

Oi will compete with players like KKR-owned EuroKids and Kidzee, which is owned by the Essel Group.

This segment’s size is pegged at $2 billion, which is expected to reach $5 billion by 2022.

“What is attractive about Oi is that it is a premium chain and their educational curriculum is one of the best in the market with very passionate franchisee partners who are more educationists than business owners,” said First-Cry CEO Supam Maheshwari.

The company raised $400 million last year from SoftBank Vision Fund and is valued at over $850 million.

The move, which is the second major acquisition by FirstCry after it bought Mahindra’s baby care retail business Babyoye in 2016, will allow the firm to be present across the life cycle of a child from before conception to early education.

FirstCry is already the largest retailer, both online and offline with over 400 stores, in the babycare space and also recently expanded overseas starting with Dubai.

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