In what will continue to dent Flipkart’s overall corporate image, a fund managed by Morgan Stanley — the investment firm popular in Indian startup ecosystem for its repeated markdowns of Flipkart shares — has yet again reduced the value of its stakes in the homegrown e-commerce behemoth. This is the fourth consecutive mark down by the firm over the period of last one year.
Talking about specifics, this valuation markdown can be considered a significant blow for the internet giant which was once considered the poster boy for Indian unicorns. The Morgan Stanley fund has slashed stake value by an immensely massive — wait for it — 38.2 %, pegging the company at its lowest valuation till date. Post this markdown, Flipkart has now been valued at $5.54 billion.
Morgan Stanley has cut off the value of its Flipkart shares to $52.13 per share for September’16 as compared to $84.29 per share which was assigned to the company in June’16. Prior to this, the investment firm has continually marked down the e-commerce giant’s shares by some percentage every quarter. Flipkart’s share value has been marked down by a hefty 63.4 percent from $142.24 per share as of June’15 when it raised funding at a valuation of over $15 billion.
This valuation markdown comes on the heels of Flipkart reporting the highest losses among all other e-commerce behemoths operating in the country. The company’s losses stand at Rs. 2,306 crores, which is almost 110 percent increase in the current financial year, which is way more than Rs 1,723.6 crore and Rs 1,328.01 crore reported by Amazon and Snapdeal respectively.
It also follows pursuit to decrement in value by other mutual funds including Valic and Fidelity, who slashed their stake values by 11.3% and 3.2% respectively. Morgan Stanley itself had slashed the company’s value by 15.5 percent to somewhere in the ballpark of $9.5 billion.
These markdowns have now become a timely affair for Flipkart but CEO Binny Bansal doesn’t consider these as a significant outlook for the company’s true worth. If you remember, he had dispensed the following statement post the first markdown:
(Markdowns are) a theoretical exercise by small investors. From our perspective, valuation is when we raise money. When we raise money, our value will be clear in the market.
Though the company believes that these markdowns do not affect the valuation (or the status, explicitly) but these surely do have their own consequences. And the timing of this massive markdown by Morgan Stanley, revealed in its latest filing, couldn’t be any worse.
According to the numerous speculations, Flipkart is currently engrossed in talks with Walmart for a monstrous $1 billion investment in the venture. On the other hand, Amazon is also looking to pump additional capital for the continued growth of its operations and competition against the homegrown e-commerce businesses. The American behemoth has just recently also debuted Prime subscription, and is looking to debut the Prime Video service in the country in the coming months.
Alibaba, the primary investor in Paytm, also sees India one of the more capable markets that’s worth fighting for. It has continuously hiring and building its team in India, with help from the e-commerce arm of the largest digital wallet service in the country. Snapdeal and others are also trying to push ahead and compete with these global players.
We’ve mailed Flipkart for a comment on the markdown and will update you, once we receive a reply.