Walmart Inc (WMT) Succeeds In Bid For India's Flipkart

Jeannie Matthews
May 5, 2018

According to a report at Bloomberg, the board of directors of India's Flipkart e-commerce website has agreed to sell a 75% stake in the company to Walmart Inc.

It would be at least a few days before the deal is finalized, the person said. This is because the companies together control around 85 per cent of India's online retail market. However, the final decision, in this case, will be taken in the next 10 days.

"We expect Walmart to be in this journey with Flipkart (if the deal goes through) for the long haul".

Walmart Inc shares were unchanged in premarket trading Friday. "The combined business will have enhanced capabilities and a strong balance sheet to help deliver value and opportunities for customers, colleagues, suppliers, and shareholders of both businesses", the release concluded.

Walmart Inc's (NYSE:WMT) battle with Amazon has extended overseas, and the former has secured a huge victory in a massive market.

Bansal, who holds about 5.5 per cent stake in the Indian e-commerce bellwether, is likely to take home more than $1 billion as the estimated valuation of Flipkart has been pegged around $20 billion for the Walmart buyout. Once the deal is final, Walmart will be crowned as the biggest e-commerce player in the country of almost 1.3 billion people.

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Arvind Singhal, Chairman of the New Delhi-based retail consultancy Technopak Advisors, shared his thoughts on the development saying "Flipkart is key to a global e-commerce strategy", he also added, "Walmart clearly doesn't want to be left behind in the race as India is a critical piece". India is the next big potential prize after the US and China, where foreign retailers have made little progress against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Alongside Walmart, there's some indication that technology giant Alphabet (parent of Google) will also invest in Flipkart.

Flipkart and Alphabet did not immediately respond to requests for comment. "Moreover, even if Amazon's bid is more attractive than Walmart's, Flipkart would not like to risk losing its identity and become Amazonised". Interestingly, Amazon has also been in talks to acquire a majority stake in Flipkart, suggesting the U.S. company does not want Walmart to enter the Indian market.

The development assumes significance as United States retail giant Walmart is close to sealing its deal to acquire majority stake in Flipkart.

IDG Ventures has exited the holdings of two of its funds including its domestic fund (Pandara Trust Scheme), but remains a shareholder via one of its overseas fund entities.

Flipkart's board at last decided a deal with Walmart is more expected to succeed regulatory approval because Amazon is the No. 2 e-commerce operator in India behind Flipkart and its primary competitor.

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