Flipkart in talks with Wal-Mart, CPPIB for $1 b funding

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on November 06, 2016


E-commerce giant looking to take on Amazon, Alibaba

After a year of discussions with various global investment firms, Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart may soon close a deal to raise around $1 billion to fuel its expansion and take on arch rival

According to two sources, the Bengaluru-based company is exploring the option of seeking funds from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores.

CPPIB, which opened an office in India last year, has been quite active in the Indian market and has invested as much as $2 billion since 2010 in companies such as Kotak Mahindra Bank, L&T Infrastructure Development Projects, Piramal Enterprises and Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

If the Flipkart deal goes through, it would be CPPIB’s first investment in an internet-based company in India.

Flipkart is also talking to Wal-Mart on the sale of a minority stake to the American retail giant. Wal-Mart’s partnership could also help Flipkart take on Alibaba, as it scales up its India presence. The Chinese player already has investments in mobile payment and commerce firm Paytm and another e-commerce marketplace, Snapdeal.

Foothold for Wal-Mart?

While Wal-Mart has declined to comment, industry watchers said that if it invests in Flipkart it may do so with an eye on getting a foothold into the niche grocery segment.

Wal-Mart has been exploring the option of getting into the food and grocery segment since the Centre relaxed FDI rules.

“Wal-Mart will have to choose between investing in an established e-commerce player like Flipkart and investing in its existing cash & carry business,” said an industry expert.

This will be Flipkart’s 13th round of funding since July 2015, when the company raised about $700 million from Steadview Capital and Tiger Global Management, at a $15-billion valuation. In all, Flipkart has raised about $3.2 billion over seven years.

Valuation hit

However, over the last 12 months, the company’s valuation has plunged to around $11 billion following a series of markdowns by its own investors and by outside investment banking firms, as it failed to achieve its sales and revenue targets for 2015.

Amazon, on the other hand, has pumped in over $5 billion in its Indian unit over the last four years.

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Published on November 06, 2016
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