Walmart in Talks to Buy Flipkart
Walmart is in discussions to buy between a 15% to 20% stake in Flipkart Online Services, a leading e-commerce retailer in India. Walmart had initial talks with Flipkart in 2016, and Japan’s Softbank Group has invested $2.5 billion in the company, including purchasing shares from some of Flipkart’s early investors. Flipkart was established in 2007 by two Indian nationals who were former Amazon.com employees, and, like Amazon, began by selling books online. The privately held company has more than 30,000 employees and had sales of $2.2 billion in 2016 when it became the first Indian app to cross more than 50 million users.
Flipkart — which coincidentally uses the same blue and yellow color scheme as Walmart’s on its website — bills itself India’s biggest online store for mobile phones, fashions, electronics, home appliances, books, jewelry, home goods, furniture, sporting goods, beauty products, personal care and other items. It touts that it sells more than 80 million products across 80-plus categories. Today, Flipkart has 100 million registered users and receives 10 million daily page visits. It uses technology that enables 8 million shipments a month, sent from 21 state-of-the-art warehouses across the country. As more Indian consumers progress to middle class, e-commerce has taken off in India, attracting more foreign competition. Amazon.com has pledged to spend $5 billion in the country, while China’s Alibaba Group Holding has invested in local upstart Paytm E-commerce Pvt.