US-based Walmart is in talks to buy 40 percent new and existing shares in Flipkart, a new report claims. Walmart earlier tried for a major breakthrough in India in partnership with Bharti Enterprises, but after numerous hurdles, both firms ended up parting ways. Walmart has since been confined to ‘cash and carry’ wholesale stores in the country.
Now Walmart is preparing for what is going to be one of the biggest overseas deals. Flipkart will reportedly be valued more than 14 Billion which is what it was deemed worth when Softbank bought one-fifth of the firm last year in August for $2.6 billion, the sources revealed.
Other current investors in Flipkart include U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global Management, China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, online marketplace eBay Inc and software giant Microsoft Corp.
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What’s in it for Flipkart?
With the Walmart backing, Flipkart will get a new vigor to challenge Amazon, its biggest e-commerce rival. Both companies have been locked in an intense battle for quite some time now. The biggest global e-commerce brand has already pledged USD $5 Billion investment in India and is quickly expanding its ecosystem of services. Amazon will also be aggressively adding private labels this year to improve its profit margins.
What’s in it for Walmart?
India market is expected to grow to $200 billion in next decade and is certainly a promising opportunity for Walmart that’s also world’s largest offline retailer. Walmart has been actively working on the online push and to tackle Amazon’s global dominance in the online space.
In its efforts, the firm has acquired a slew of start-ups over the last year and has managed to successfully cut into Amazon’s lead. A recent report by Market intelligence leader, SimilarWeb, notes that its conversion rate has indeed improved by 45 percent over last two years. Walmart still has a long way to go before it catches up with Amazon, though.