As Flipkart inches closer to sell a majority stake to global retail giant Walmart, reports have emerged that Sachin Bansal, co-founder and chairman of the e-tailer may quit after the deal is done and dusted.
According to sources, Walmart is expected to pump in as much as $12 billion for primary and secondary shares, valuing Flipkart at about Dollars 20 billion - far higher than the $17.6 billion valuation of the current buyback.
Investors, including Shekhar Kirani, Deep Nishar, and IDG Ventures, as also several pension funds are reported to have exited Flipkart through the buyback at $169.31 per share, which pegs Flipkart's valuation at around $17.7 billion.
The move is said to be in line with Flipkart's efforts to ease of the acquisition deal with Walmart.
The TOI report citing sources said Walmart is keen on retaining only one of the two founders.
The acquisition of Flipkart has been a long-drawn out saga that has kept the Indian e-commerce space on edge, but it seems that a deal has finally been finalized.
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That would seal a Walmart triumph over Amazon.com Inc., which has been trying to take control of Flipkart with a competing offer. According to the report, Walmart has said that it wants the duo of Group CEO Binny Bansal and Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy who have been actively running the day-to-day operations as more critical members to stay back.
Walmart's investment would give Flipkart not just additional funds to fight Amazon, but also arm it with a formidable ally with extensive experience in retailing, logistics and supply chain management.
SoftBank declined to comment. Flipkart is registered as a public company with almost 145 entities as shareholders and it is, therefore, trying to narrow it down to 50, which is the maximum limit for a private limited company in India as well as Singapore. India is the next big potential prize after the U.S. and China, where foreign retailers have made little progress against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. SoftBank and Tiger Global are the two largest investors in Flipkart, with the likes of Naspers, Accel Partners, and DST Global being the other key shareholders.
Much is left to speculation, however: Amazon, Walmart and Flipkart all refuse to comment in any official capacity on what could well become one of the most important e-commerce deals of the year.
However, investors such as Tencent, Microsoft and Tiger Global are not likely to exit completely.