About six days ago, Walmart undertook a historic acquisition and its most expensive one in recent memory when it swallowed India's ecommerce leader Flipkart by shelling out $16 billion for a 77 percent stake. There is much for Walmart's investors to celebrate in the firm spotting the right opportunity at the right time to safeguard its place in a digital future dominated by the ever-rampaging Amazon. After unspectacular efforts in China and Japan, this US retail leviathan may never get another opportunity to assure itself of a captive, fast-growing and potentially mammoth audience for its wares in the online realm. India represented its last chance -- as it was Amazon's, following getting shut-out in China -- and the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has been virtually forced to play this hand or risk regretting it forever. Or so the narrative goes.
Walmart announced plans on Wednesday to buy a 77 percent stake in Flipkart, Amazon's main e-commerce rival in India. The same day, eBay announced that it was selling its minority stake in Flipkart and relaunching its own operations in the country. With those moves this week, India's $27 billion online retail market got a little more crowded as the some of the world's largest e-commerce giants--Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Walmart--jostle for dominance. Many analysts are predicting that India, the world's second most populous country, will soon see a huge boom in its e-commerce markets. Morgan Stanley, for instance, predicts that the country's market will grow more than 1,200 percent to $200 billion by 2026.
Walmart Inc. clinched a deal Thursday to acquire 73 percent of e-commerce company Flipkart, which is currently one of the biggest players in Indian market. Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. also participated in the deal, which valued Flipkart at between $20-22 billion. The move, which has been termed one of the biggest acquisitions in the world's second-most populous country, and is the biggest ever by Walmart, would see the retail giant spend at least $14.6 billion (up to $16 billion) in a cash-and-stock buyout. Alphabet is investing $3 billion in the deal, though the exact details of its involvement were not clear. "Everything has been finalised… The papers have been signed by both the parties," Factory Daily quoted an unnamed source, referring to Flipkart and Walmart.
Wal-Mart is considering up to a 1 billion investment into India's Flipkart, according to Bloomberg, as the world's largest retailer looks to battle Amazon in the e-commerce turf war. Look at what Google and Amazon are doing with databases: That's your future It may seem unlikely that ordinary firms will ever be able to emulate the resource-rich web giants when it comes to data architectures. But that possibility may be closer than you think, says Neo Technology CEO Emil Eifrem. The investment, if completed, would give Wal-Mart a minority stake in Flipkart. Bloomberg reports the deal is in advanced talks, but is still being negotiated.