Rumors related to the acquisition of homegrown e-commerce startup Flipkart by global retail giant Walmart has been making rounds for quite some time. Recently, it was reported that Walmart has made a bid to acquire a majority stake in Flipkart.
Now, according to a report from the Hindustan Times, Flipkart’s board has approved the bid from Walmart to acquire about 75 percent stake in Flipkart for about $15 billion. As a part of this transaction, Japan-based SoftBank is expected to sell 20 percent stake.
Further, some reports indicate that the parent company of Google — Alphabet is also set to participate in this investment round with about $3 billion funding. The deal is expected to close within 10 days, but sources aware of the development say that the terms could still change and a deal isn’t certain.
A report from FactorDaily suggests that the deal will consist of $14.6 billion in cash and the rest is expected to be in the form of stock. It further reports that Kalyan Krishnamurthy will stay on as chief executive of Flipkart.
According to the report, investors like Tencent, Microsoft, and Tiger Global will not cash out completely but Softbank, which holds a little over 20 percent stake in Flipkart, will exit the company fully and is expected to make $4 billion. SoftBank had invested $2.5 billion in Flipkart last year. If the deal goes through, SoftBank will be able to make around 60% return on its investment.
The deal is expected to take place at a valuation of $20 billion for Flipkart, which is much higher than the $12 billion valuation mark it hit last year. Flipkart is currently the most valued startup in India.
Walmart has informed Flipkart’s board that it intends to sell shares of the company in an initial public offer (IPO) in about three years time. The IPO is expected to take place once the company inches closer to profitability.
While the current CEO will remain in place, the company’s founders — Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, are expected to quit the company after this transaction. Earlier, it was reported that Binny Bansal will quit the company, but the sources say that nothing is final yet. Sources aware of the development have said that most of the senior leadership of the company will remain unchanged.
According to the reports, Flipkart isn’t the only e-commerce company that Walmart checked out for acquisition. Walmart reportedly looked at Snapdeal and ShopClues as well but wanted to go with the largest of them all, despite the deal size.
Once this deal goes through, Walmart will get a leading position in one of the world’s largest market and in a space where it has been struggling — e-commerce. Walmart has been struggling against the likes of Amazon as online spending has increased among the users.
If this deal of Walmart and Flipkart goes through, Walmart will be competing against its largest competitor — Amazon. The Jeff Bezos-led company has already established its presence in India and is among the leading e-commerce firms in the country.