Amazon offers to acquire 60% stake in Flipkart

Amazon's bid for a majority stake in Flipkart will cut no ice with some of the biggest investors as well as the top management team of India's largest online retailer, as the American giant's offer-made on Wednesday- is not high enough to cover the potential risks, said two people aware of the details.

With the rival combination of Flipkart and Amazon looking increasingly unlikely, now the world's largest retailer, Walmart Inc., is believed to be in final negotiations to buy a majority stake in Flipkart Ltd.

Walmart has agreed to invest around $12 billion to pick up around 60 per cent stake in Flipkart, in a mix of primary and secondary deals.

Interestingly, Lore and the co-founders of Flipkart - Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal - have all worked for Amazon in the past. Walmart expects the Flipkart stake purchase - its biggest e-commerce bet anywhere globally - to trigger a re-rating of its stock market valuation, which has trailed Amazon. Flipkart is now the biggest competitor to Amazon India in the booming e-commerce space in India, and together, the two companies control over 80 percent of the e-commerce market in the country.

Though Amazon's interest in Flipkart is unconfirmed and could just be sly negotiating tactics by either side, any show of insecurity would be surprising.

Walmart has been on an acquisition spree to strengthen its online presence after it bought Amazon's competitor Jet.com for $3.3 billion in 2016. The Walmart-Flipkart deal would be Form 1 and an Amazon-Flipkart deal Form 2, said legal experts.


FILE PHOTO: A Common myna sits next to the logo of India's e-commerce firm Flipkart installed on the company's office in Bengaluru, India April 12, 2018.

SoftBank is also likely to go along with the other investors, the sources told ET. The bid emphasizes the importance of gaining a greater foothold in online sales in India, a market expected to be worth $200 billion a year within a decade.

"We have been deliberate and thoughtful, we were not slow to respond", she said.

The source said on condition of anonymity that a deal could take at least a month to be signed.

Flipkart's two largest investors are SoftBank, which holds about 23% stake, while the New York-based investment fund Tiger Global owns about 20% in the company.


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