Walmart Inc is in talks to acquire a stake of more than 40% in e-commerce firm Flipkart, a direct challenge to Amazon.com Inc in Asia’s 3rd largest economy, two sources recognizable with the matter said on Friday.
In what would be one of its vast overseas deals, the US retailer is looking at buying new and current shares in Flipkart, and due diligence is likely to begin as early as next week, the sources said. They refuse to be named as the talks were private.
Terms under discussion were not instantly available, but Flipkart would be admired at more than the $12 billion figure given when Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund took roughly a 5th of the firm previous year for $2.5 billion, they added.
A spokesman for Flipkart said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation. An India-based representative for Walmart declined to comment.
A deal with Walmart would give Flipkart much-needed muscle in its fight against Amazon, which has committed to investing $5 billion in India as it expands aggressively, including into online grocery deliveries.
For Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart, a deal would open a new front in its efforts to take on Amazon, giving the world’s most extensive brick-and-mortar retailer access to an e-commerce market that Morgan Stanley has predicted will rapidly grow to be worth $200 billion in a decade.
It would be part of a massive e-commerce push that has seen Walmart collect a slew of startups, along with compensating roughly $3 billion for online retailer Jet.com.
Walmart has for years tried to get in India but has remained confined to a ‘cash-and-carry’ wholesale business amid strict restrictions on foreign investment. It currently operates 21 such stores in India.