Walmart buys majority stake in Flipkart for $16 bln

Walmart Inc. on Wednesday said it has signed definitive agreements to become the largest shareholder in Indian online retailer Flipkart.

The US company in a statement said the investment will help accelerate Flipkart’s customer-focused mission to transform commerce in India through technology and help job creation and investment in India, one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world.

Subject to regulatory approval in India, Walmart will pay approximately $16 billion for an initial stake of approximately 77 percent in Flipkart, formally Flipkart Private Limited.

The remainder of the business will be held by some of Flipkart’s existing shareholders, including Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Tencent Holdings Limited, Tiger Global Management LLC and Microsoft Corp.

“India is one of the most attractive retail markets in the world, given its size and growth rate, and our investment is an opportunity to partner with the company that is leading transformation of eCommerce in the market,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and chief executive officer.

“As a company, we are transforming globally to meet and exceed the needs of customers and we look forward to working with Flipkart to grow in this critical market. We are also excited to be doing this with Tencent, Tiger Global and Microsoft, which will be key strategic and technology partners. We are confident this group will provide Flipkart with enhanced strategic and competitive advantage. Our investment will benefit India providing quality, affordable goods for customers, while creating new skilled jobs and fresh opportunities for small suppliers, farmers and women entrepreneurs.”

While the immediate focus will be on serving customers and growing the business, Walmart said it supported Flipkart’s ambition to transition into a publicly-listed, majority-owned subsidiary in the future.

“This investment is of immense importance for India and will help fuel our ambition to deepen our connection with buyers and sellers and to create the next wave of retail in India,” said Binny Bansal, Flipkart’s co-founder and group chief executive officer.

“While eCommerce is still a relatively small part of retail in India, we see great potential to grow. Walmart is the ideal partner for the next phase of our journey, and we look forward to working together in the years ahead to bring our strengths and learnings in retail and eCommerce to the fore.”

While Walmart and Flipkart will leverage the combined strengths of both companies, they will maintain distinct brands and operating structures.

Currently, Walmart India operates 21 Best Price cash-and-carry stores and one fulfillment center in 19 cities across nine states in India, with more than 95 percent of sourcing coming from India.

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