BCCI takes BYJU’s to NCLT over Indian cricket jersey sponsorship dispute

While the case is set for hearing on 22 December, BYJU’s said it was in discussions with the BCCI to settle the matter

An order jersey of the Indian cricket team with the 'Byju's India' logo and legend (photo: IANS)
An order jersey of the Indian cricket team with the 'Byju's India' logo and legend (photo: IANS)

NH Business Bureau

In a fresh setback for beleaguered ed-tech giant BYJU’S, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken legal action against the company, dragging it to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

According to information on the NCLT website, the case was officially registered on 15 November, following its first filing on 8 September.

The dispute between BCCI and the BYJU’S parent company, Think and Learn Pvt Ltd, was scheduled for a hearing on 28 November, according to the NCLT records. The NCLT website indicates that the case is set for its next hearing on 22 December.

A BYJU’s spokesperson said, “We are in discussions with the BCCI to settle the matter, and we hope to achieve that soon.”

Sources suggest the case revolves around a dispute over the sponsorship rights for the Indian cricket team’s jerseys. The Morning Context, which broke the news, quoted an unnamed source estimating the dispute's potential financial impact as being between Rs 100 crore and Rs 250 crore.

BYJU’S, facing legal action, has apparently entered into discussions with the cricket board to resolve the matter promptly.

This development comes almost a year after BYJU’S abruptly terminated its jersey sponsorship deal with BCCI in December 2022, initiating a comprehensive restructuring effort across the company.

The ed-tech firm then extended its jersey sponsorship agreement with BCCI in June 2023 to last until November 2023, reportedly a contract worth $35 million.

BYJU’S has also faced criticism for its other sponsorship activities, including sponsoring the FIFA World Cup 2022 and signing Argentina’s captain Lionel Messi as an ambassador. The latter move was particularly controversial, as it coincided with a significant workforce reduction within the company.

This latest legal tussle follows BYJU’S announcement earlier this year that it would not renew its branding partnerships, citing a cost-cutting strategy to achieve profitability.

The company has previously held significant branding partnerships with the BCCI, the ICC (International Cricket Council) and FIFA, which were all up for renewal in 2023. However, BYJU’S confirmed that it would not be renewing any of these partnerships, leaving the nature of the current legal dispute undisclosed.

Meanwhile, in a pivotal leadership transition, Think & Learn announced on 27 November the appointment of Jiny Thattil as its new chief technology officer (CTO), succeeding Anil Goel, who departs after three years in the role. Formerly senior vice president (engineering) at BYJU’S, Thattil played a crucial role in the post-acquisition integration of various subsidiaries within the BYJU’S ecosystem.

This strategic move aligns with BYJU’s ongoing efforts in organisational restructuring, aimed at enhancing operational efficiency and adapting its leadership team to address current challenges in the competitive ed-tech landscape.

The elevation of Thattil signifies a noteworthy shift in BYJU’S top management, emphasising the company's commitment to fortifying its technical leadership amidst a period of corporate adjustments and uncertainties.

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