Targeting sales in a growing region, retailer Walmart will reportedly purchase a majority stake in Flipkart, India’s top e-commerce company by revenue. A completed agreement could be formally announced in the next two weeks and would give Walmart as much as an 80% stake in the firm, Bloomberg reported. The Bentonville, AR-based company, it appears, outdueled rival Amazon in negotiations after Flipkart’s board reasoned Walmart would face fewer regulatory hurdles in a potential acquisition. That’s because Amazon already has a significant presence in India and is currently a Flipkart competitor there.
According to Bloomberg, Tiger Global Management will sell “nearly all” of its 20% holding in Flipkart and SoftBank Group will sell “a substantial part” of its 20% stake. If the deal comes together under current terms, Flipkart’s valuation would rise to about $20 billion.
India, according to analysts, is shaping up to be ground zero for the latest online retail battle, after Alibaba has successfully, in recent years, fortified its dominant standing in China. For Walmart, the motivation to strike a deal with Flipkart is clear as the retailer looks to gain ground in a country of 1.3 billion people where Amazon is already investing resources.
Meanwhile, for Flipkart, it stands to benefit in the deal by bringing “its online business offline,” wrote analysts at BMI Research in a recent note. “Through Flipkart’s partnership with Walmart, the e-commerce firm will be able to add groceries to its product portfolio.”
It remains unclear, according to reports, whether Flipkart’s founders will lead the business after the proposed purchase. Walmart, Flipkart and Amazon have not publicly commented on the newest developments in the pending agreement.
Both Walmart and Amazon, while looking to expand globally in retail sectors, have also sought to boost their presence in the promotional products industry since last year. Walmart entered the promo industry in 2017 with the unveiling of Walmart PromoShop. Amazon is also raising its profile in the promo market through platforms like Amazon Custom and Merch By Amazon.