May 24, 2018

Flipkart Board is Said to Approve $15 Billion Walmart Deal

09 May 2018, 07:56 | Kenneth Drake

Walmart Signs a New Deal with the Indian Flipkart Online Services

Walmart-Flipkart deal ‘As substantial value in India tax liability likely to arise

Walmart was in advanced talks to acquire 51 percent or more of the e-commerce player for $10 billion to $12 billion, valuing Flipkart at some $18 billion to $20 billion.

Bloomberg News said Flipkart's board had agreed the sale.

Flipkart also recently saw an infusion into its marketplace business, Flipkart Internet, which received Rs 370 crore from its Singapore company, Flipkart Marketplace, in March.

Both sources said that Flipkart Group Chief Executive Binny Bansal held a closed-door meeting with the firm's top leadership at its Bengaluru headquarters on Monday, and one added that Bansal said that Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal would exit after the Walmart deal is sealed. However, this could not be independently confirmed.

For Amazon, which has been investing heavily in its own Indian platform in recent years in a bid to cash in on growing consumption in the world's second fastest growing economy, the deal represents a renewed competitive threat.

Walmart's offer will come as a blow for Amazon, which has been pushing to increase its presence in the Indian grocery sector. There are various advantages associated with the deal between Walmart and Flipkart.

The i's are being dotted, the t's are being crossed on India's biggest e-commerce deal - an announcement is likely tomorrow, or end of week at the latest - and employees, both past and present, are eagerly looking forward to a bonanza where their stock options are concerned. Reports surfaced that Flipkart is working on a mega expansion plan after its merger with Walmart and is ready with United States dollars 1 billion (about Rs 6,700 crore ) for various deal activities.

SoftBank declined to comment.

Flipkart's board has approved an approximately $15 billion agreement to sell a 75% interest in the company to a Walmart-led group expected to include Google parent Alphabet Inc.

As well as Softbank, it is also backed by New York-based fund Tiger Management.

The existing Flipkart shareholders, Tencent Holdings, Tiger Global Management, Naspers, and Microsoft will only retain small stakes after the acquisition of the home-grown retailer by Walmart. The company will infuse $2 billion directly in the form of fresh equity. The deal however fell apart after Snapdeal's founders decided against the deal.

Experts have also warned of possible litigation over the tax liability in coming years as well as issues such as the carry forward of losses by Flipkart.

Reports quoting unnamed sources said Amazon was willing to value Flipkart higher, at around $22 billion, but that all of Flipkart's major investors were leaning towards Walmart.

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