US companies Walmart and Amazon are competing to acquire a controlling stake in Flipkart, India’s leading eCommerce company. Walmart has completed an in-depth due diligence on its proposed majority ownership in the Indian firm. However, rival Amazon also wants to put in a bid and offers a ‘breakup fee’ of $1 billion to $2 billion, a penalty to be paid in case the deal fails to proceed.
Unnamed sources revealed that Walmart is willing to pay $10 billion to $12 billion for a controlling stake of 51 percent or more, valuing Flipkart at roughly $20 billion. But the deal isn’t sealed yet because Amazon is reportedly interested as well.
Insiders privy to the matter disclosed that Flipkart’s board recently discussed the competing proposals. They seem to agree that Walmart’s offer is better since the US retailer will face fewer regulatory hurdles. On the other hand, Amazon is considered as Flipkart’s primary competitor. It will face tighter scrutiny for possible monopoly since both companies control the majority of India’s online retail market.
Founded by two former Amazon employees, Flipkart is taking on the eCommerce giant to have a piece of India’s expanding online retail market. According to Morgan Stanley estimates, eCommerce in the country is predicted to grow annually by 30 percent and will be worth $200 billion by 2026.
Because of its vast potential, Amazon is investing heavily in the emerging market. The eCommerce giant has spent $5 billion for its India operations but is losing to homegrown startups like Flipkart that know the market well.
Flipkart announced recent plans to construct a 4.5 million sq. ft. logistics facility in Southern India. This is significantly bigger than Amazon’s largest warehouse measuring 400,000-sq. ft. in the country. But the US online retailer also has 62 fulfillment centers and delivery stations located all over India.
Walmart’s entry will give the startup its much-needed funds to compete head-on with Amazon. Flipkart will also benefit from the retailer’s unparalleled experience in logistics and supply chain management.
The largest US retailer’s stake in Flipkart will depend on which of its shareholders are willing to sell. SoftBank, Tiger Global, and Naspers are just some of its largest investors. Insiders said that SoftBank prefers a deal with Amazon because of its success in online commerce. Tiger and Naspers will likely sell their holdings to Walmart for the right price, according to sources.
As of writing, Walmart, Amazon, and Flipkart have declined to comment on the matter.[Featured image via Flipkart website]