And just when people have been talking all sorts of stuff on how and when Flipkart might eventually be forced to either merge or shut shop, Bloomberg has come up with a report which if proven true — could tilt the entire commerce balance, further in Flipkart’s favour.
Coming after a previous report which stated Wal-Mart’s intentions of buying up an equity stake in Flipkart, Bloomberg now reports that the sale could involve world’s largest retailer to pump as much as a billion dollars into India’s largest commerce player — Flipkart.
An enemy of an enemy is a friend — a saying which Wal-Mart is apparantly following in the truest of senses. Both Wal-Mart and Flipkart have a common enemy in Amazon. While the enemy is a global for the former, it is a huge regional growth roadblock for the latter, hence the huge investment.
Final terms of the deal have not been worked out and negotiations are still underway, the person said. Flipkart’s most recent valuation was about $16 billion, according to research firm CB Insights.
However, multiple markdowns by numerous firms globally have hit Flipkart’s image, if not the actual valuation number. Moreover, Amazon continues to pour in huge capital into its India operations, eyeing to capture a major chunk of world’s fastest growing commerce market. Jeff Bezos has already committed close to $5Billion for Amazon India, with smaller grants coming in time to time to fuel specific operations.
Flipkart has recently been under a lot of pressure due to an increase in competition by three-year old Indian arm of e-commerce firm Amazon, who has recently also overtaken the former in monthly sales. While Jeff Bezos has been announcing an additional $3 billion push into its Indian e-commerce arm, Flipkart been facing multiple senior-level management changes, and scarcity of funds to expand and grow its operations. It has till date been cutting costs and surviving on the last $700 million round raised over an year ago.
But if the equity partnership between WalMart and Flipkart goes through, then it would be a win-win situation for both parties. The Indian e-commerce giant will have some additional capital to expedite its efforts and fight back to conquer its market, while Wal-Mart would gain exposure to the ripening Indian market. It would also give them the leeway to fight global players like Amazon, and soon-to-arrive Alibaba, Rakuten on a level playing field.
As per a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Amazon’s India unit will account for over a fifth of the total international sales of Amazon by 2025, hitting over $81 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) and $2.2 billion in operating profits. But, Flipkart is still said to dominate the Indian market even after whopping sales and profit numbers posted by Amazon.