Wal­mart in Talks to Buy Flip­kart

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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.

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