SoftBank in talks to invest USD 500-600 million in Flipkart: Sources

PTIUpdated: Friday, June 04, 2021, 06:37 PM IST
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SoftBank in talks to invest USD 500-600 million in Flipkart: Sources | AFP

SoftBank Group is in discussions with Flipkart to pump in about USD 500-600 million into the Walmart-owned e-tailer, according to sources.

If the deal goes through, SoftBank will re-enter Flipkart's cap table three years after it sold its entire stake in the e-commerce major to Walmart.

Sources said Flipkart is in talks with various investors to raise funding, including SoftBank that is expected to invest about USD 500-600 million (Rs 3,652 crore - Rs 4,382 crore).

The transaction - which may also see participation from Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and Canadian pension fund CPPIB - could value Flipkart between USD 30-32 billion, they added.

SoftBank declined to comment, while Flipkart did not respond to emailed queries. GIC and CPPIB could not be immediately reached for comments.

After its USD 16 billion investment in Flipkart in 2018, Walmart had led a USD 1.2 billion funding round in 2020 that valued the e-commerce company at USD 24.9 billion post-money. Flipkart is also said to be working on launching an initial public offering (IPO) next year.

One of the persons close to the development said that Flipkart, and the e-commerce segment as a whole, has seen significant growth during the pandemic and investors are keen on tapping into this opportunity.

E-commerce has seen strong growth in the country amid the pandemic as containment measures introduced millions to the convenience of online shopping, and prompted seasoned online shoppers to buy more.

Social distancing compulsions, massive smartphone base and reliable broadband have galvanised e-commerce uptake beyond metros, deep into smaller cities and towns.

These platforms are ramping up capacities and hiring to cater to the growth in order volumes.

A fresh infusion of capital will also provide Flipkart with more ammunition to compete against rivals like Amazon and Reliance's JioMart.

SoftBank had sold its approximately 20 per cent share after Walmart agreed to buy a 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for USD 16 billion in 2018.

SoftBank has been aggressively investing in India over the past few years, backing companies including Paytm, Ola and Delhivery. Last month, SoftBank invested USD 250-million in banking technology startup Zeta, and led a USD 300 million (about Rs 2,201.7 crore) funding round in Meesho earlier this year.

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