Walmart close to sealing deal to buy Flipkart

Major investors in Indian e-commerce firm on board

New Delhi : US retail giant Walmart is inching close to sealing the deal to buy a majority stake in Flipkart for as much as $12 billion, even though rival Amazon is still jostling to turn the deal in its favour.

Sources said all major investors in Flipkart, including SoftBank of Japan, are more or less on board with Walmart’s purchase and the deal could be announced in the coming days.

Walmart is likely to buy stakes of multiple Flipkart investors, including that of Tiger Global Management and Softbank to end up with at least 60 per cent holding, they said.

The deal with Walmart, involving primary and secondary shares, is expected to value Flipkart at about $20 billion, they added.

One of the persons said possible scrutiny from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) as well as risks related to sharing competitive data as part of due diligence were some of the reasons for Flipkart investors and management favouring a deal with Walmart and not Amazon, even though the rival’s bid was slightly higher.

Amazon is believed to have offered Flipkart a higher valuation of about $22 billion, along with a break-up fee of $2 billion, compared to Walmart’s $18-20 billion valuation of the Bengaluru-based company.

Emails sent to Flipkart and Walmart did not elicit any response.

“We do not comment on ongoing discussions and/or speculation”, SoftBank said in an emailed statement.

Flipkart’s major investors — Tiger Global Management, Accel and Naspers are expected to sell all their shares to the Arkansas-based retailer. India is a critical market for both Walmart and Amazon and a deal with Flipkart would help either player in consolidating their position in the booming e-commerce market here.

According to Greyhound Research Chief Analyst and CEO Sanchit Vir Gogia, Walmart adding Flipkart to its kitty will act like a shot-in-the-arm and give it a significant up against ace competition, Amazon.

“Flipkart shareholders also stand to gain a better outcome on their returns (as part of deal with Walmart) and the founders and key management get a bigger stake in the game given higher reliance on them to successfully run and grow the commerce business,” he added. Last year, SoftBank Vision Fund had pumped in an estimated $2.5 billion in Flipkart for about 20 per cent stake in the company. The Bengaluru-based firm had also raised funds from eBay, Tencent Holdings and Microsoft Corp last year.

Flipkart to cut returns by 10-15%

NEW DELHI: Flipkart on Thursday said it aims to reduce returns on its platform by another 10-15 per cent as it engages more with its sellers to help the latter enhance their quality of products and increase sales. The company has also reduced various charges like fixed fee, shipping fee and commissions for its sellers with effect from May 1.

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