Friday, 17 August, 2018

Walmart closes in on $15bn Flipkart e-commerce deal

SoftBank weighs options to cut tax liability in Flipkart stake sale Walmart looking to infuse $2-3 billion in equity into Flipkart post acquisition: Report
Kenny Thornton | 08 May, 2018, 05:14

Walmart is reportedly closing in on a big acquisition of Flipkart, and if it happens, India's retail market could.

It raised a demand of more than Rs 11,000 crore on Vodafone International Holdings BV, for its $11-billion Hutchison Essar. The deal also required SoftBank Group to sell more than 20% of its shares to Walmart.

"Since there is no policy or rule for e-commerce as of now, such deals will run contrary to the interests of India's retail trade... e-commerce business is already gripped with predatory pricing, loss of funding". Most of the delay is mainly caused by issues arising from one key investor Softbank.

The deal follows in the footsteps of another global move made by Walmart, combining its wholly-owned United Kingdom retail subsidiary Asda with J Sainsbury plc, creating a leading grocer in the UK.

According to sources with knowledge of the matter, Softbank, which has roughly 21% stake in Flipkart, is now consulting with multiple tax consultancy firms over how it can sell its holdings without attracting hefty liability.

"The buyback and the subsequent conversion to private company status appear to be part of a series of steps aimed at easing a proposed acquisition by Walmart", Chennai-based Durai said.

According to data from Grant Thornton, 21 deals worth Dollars 2,112 million were seen in 2017 with participation from players like Paytm and Flipkart. There are also concerns that Flipkart's algorithm could give an unfair advantage to Walmart's labels.

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As in China, the Indian market is coveted by online retail players.

The company has been competing with Amazon's India division in recent years, as Amazon has increased its focus on the Indian market. The two co-founders had previously worked at Amazon.

Walmart initiated the deal from previous year but it is still facing threats from Amazon.

"The deal between Flipkart and Walmart is a done thing, as evident from the exit of majority of its investors".

Walmart has been trying to break into the Indian market for more than a decade after enjoying a brief stint in the country when it entered a joint venture with Indian conglomerate Bharti in 2007.

The Flipkart is the highest valued company in India.

However, the deal could harm India's small businesses, especially given Walmart's habit of driving down its suppliers margins in order to keep prices low. SoftBank made little profit from their $2.5billion stake investment in the Flipkart.

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