In a move which seems like a step forward for consolidation in the Indian e-commerce market, SoftBank Group — the largest investor in Snapdeal, has given an ‘in-principle’ nod and non-binding approval from its board for the merger deal with Flipkart.

This development was first reported by Kritika Saxena of CNBC TV18. The report further adds that the SoftBank board has given in-principle nod to hold 20 percent stake in the merged entity of Snapdeal-Flipkart. The meeting also concluded with the approval of a plan to buyout Snapdeal investors ahead of the potential merger.

While this is a major step forward, both the companies will need approval from their other investors also for the deal to go through. And no immediate action could be taken with this regards because as The Tech Portal has learned from internal sources, the board meeting involved only SoftBank members. Neither of the involved parties were present in the boardroom. Also, the valuation of Snapdeal has not been confirmed yet.

Japan-based SoftBank has been pushing for the sale of Snapdeal to its bugger rival Flipkart. However, it was facing resistance from the company’s early investors — Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners. Last week, we reported that SoftBank has managed to get Kalaari Capital on board for the deal. It is not yet clear is Nexus Venture Partners has also agreed or not.

If the deal goes through, SoftBank is likely to invest in the combined entity and will buy out a portion of Tiger Global Management, which is a major investor in Flipkart.

As per other reports, SoftBank is also looking to sell off FreeCharge, a payment platform which was acquired by Snapdeal for around $400-450 million. However, the surprising part is the newly pegged valuation of the platform. It could be acquired for as low as $150-200 million, less than half the price when Snapdeal acquired it a couple of years ago.

In the meeting, the SoftBank board is also said to have discussed other investments in India. As we reported earlier today, Paytm is a step away from getting $1.9 billion investment from the Japan-based investor. For this investment, SoftBank is looking for at least 10-15 percent stake. The investment is expected to close by May.

Apart from Paytm, SoftBank is also looking to investment money in budget hotel chain aggregator Oyo. The company is reportedly raising $250 million from SoftBank. Reports suggest the Japan-based investor was offering $500 million but other investors of Oyo opposed the move. The deal is now being finalized for only $250 million.

The Japanese investment major is also expected to invest around $60-100 million in the merged entity formed after the proposed merger of Bengaluru-based online grocer BigBasket and Gurugram-based hyperlocal grocery delivery startup Grofers. Both of them are SoftBank’s portfolio companies.

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