US retail giant Walmart is likely to reach an agreement to acquire Indian e-commerce company Flipkart by the end of June, according to new reports. Walmart is interested in buying a majority stake in Flipkart, and has completed its due diligence into Flipkart. It is believed that Walmart will be looking to acquire 51 percent or more ownership in Flipkart, and will pay up to $12 billion for the stake, according to a report by Reuters. The deal has massive implications for the booming e-commerce segment in India, which is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
The deal will also help Walmart take the fight directly to Amazon, now considered its biggest competitor in the retail space. Amazon India and Flipkart directly compete as the two largest players in the Indian e-commerce space, and Walmart’s acquisition will no doubt be a cause for concern for Amazon. In recent times, Amazon India has seen more potential thanks to the financial backing of its profitable parent company, while Flipkart has struggled with mounting losses and growing investor concern. Walmart’s acquisition will infuse new capital and life into Flipkart, along with the advantage of Walmart’s experience in retail and deep pockets.
Amazon has also been exploring the possibility of buying Flipkart, and could well make a counter-offer once Walmart lays its cards on the table. However, any deal between Amazon and Flipkart would be considered monopolistic and anti-competitive, since it would effectively put practically the entire Indian e-commerce segment into the hands of a single company. It would thus also be subject to heavy scrutiny from regulators. However, it’s worth noting here that Walmart is the front-runner for the deal, and is more likely to be the company that finally completes the acquisition of a controlling stake in Flipkart.
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Walmart is one of the biggest retailers in the world by revenues, and operates a chain of supermarkets, department stores and grocery stores in 28 countries around the world. The company is headquartered in Arkansas, USA, and operates over 12,000 stores globally.
In the US, it competes with Amazon in the retail space, with Amazon capturing a chunk of the online sales while Walmart continues to dominate offline retail sales. Walmart is majority-owned and controlled by the Walton family, which has a combined net worth of nearly $150 billion. The organization itself is believed to be worth around $275 billion.