Walmart has confirmed that it has signed definitive agreements to become the largest shareholder in the Flipkart Group, as per a statement issued by the company.
Walmart will pay approximately $16 billion for an initial stake of around 77% in Flipkart, formerly Flipkart Private Limited, the statement says.
The rest of the business will remain in the hands of some of Flipkart’s existing shareholders, including Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Tencent Holdings Limited, Tiger Global Management LLC and Microsoft Corp, which could result in Walmart’s investment stake moving lower after the transaction is complete.
However, even post raising funds, Walmart would retain clear majority ownership. Tencent and Tiger Global will continue on the Flipkart board, joined by new members from Walmart. The final make-up of the board has yet to be determined, but it will also include independent members.
“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,” he added.
Founded in 2007, Flipkart has grown to become the largest ecommerce company in India with oher platforms such as such as Myntra, Jabong and PhonePe, also running successfully. Flipkart’s supply chain arm, eKart, serves more than 800 cities, making 500,000 deliveries daily. In the fiscal year ended March 31, Flipkart recorded GMV of $7.5 billion1 and net sales of $4.6 billion representing more than 50 percent year-over-year growth in both cases.
“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. 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,” Binny Bansal, Flipkart’s co-founder and group chief executive officer said in a statement.
Walmart says that with the investment, Flipkart will leverage Walmart’s omni-channel retail expertise, grocery and general merchandise supply-chain knowledge and financial strength, while Flipkart’s talent, technology, customer insights and agile and innovative culture will benefit Walmart in India and across the globe.
Post the deal, both companies will maintain distinct brands and operating structures.
According to a statement from the company, the Flipkart investment transforms Walmart’s position in a country with more than 1.3 billion people, strong GDP growth, a growing middle class and significant runway for smartphone, internet and eCommerce penetration.
The deal is expected to close later this calendar year, subject to regulatory approval. To finance the investment, Walmart intends to use a combination of newly issued debt and cash on hand.
Upon closing, Flipkart’s financials will be reported as part of Walmart’s International business segment. If the transaction were to close at the end of the second quarter of this fiscal year, Walmart expects a negative impact to FY19 EPS of approximately $0.25 to $0.30, which includes incremental interest expense related to the investment.
Walmart also claims that it will boost job creation through development of supply chains, commercial opportunity and direct employment.