Here's a way to make sure that Amazon in India does not gain control over Flipkart by outbidding it for a majority stake: Buy it directly. Today, during SoftBank's earnings presentation, CEO Masayoshi Son looks set to make a small outing: He announced that Walmart, the world's largest retailer, will make a deal on Tuesday evening to purchase Flipkart, the leading ecommerce Traders in India, has completed months (and actually years) of speculation. Softbank is currently one of Flipkart's biggest investors.
"Walmart buys Flipkart," Son said in the presentation (speaking in Japanese with a real-time translation from a SoftBank representative). "Last night there was the official announcement."
Very soon thereafter, there was a quick and slightly chaotic recovery: a second gentleman approached Son during the Q & A section of his presentation and pushed him a note, whereupon the CEO read it, and then said that an announcement not nor had been confirmed.
"Regarding Flipkart, it's not officially announced yet," he said with a faint smile. "Maybe I should not have mentioned that … Well, I can not leave it out!"
"Unannounced" is also the line that SoftBank speakers also take, and we have not heard of Flipkart and Walmart with their comments. But it could come very soon: We were told by a source that the official news will be published at 17 o'clock India time.
If Masa's first statement were correct, Walmart's takeover would end a long-running saga. For months there have been rumors that the world's largest retailer is gearing up to acquire a significant stake in the Indian company to get its foot in India – with reports that the size of the share somewhere between 51 percent and about 70 percent put, and in a value between $ 15 billion and $ 20 billion, with additional potential investors including Google.
But last week, alternative reports started that Amazon would try to marvel at Walmart and take a pole position as a shareholder. Walmart and Amazon compete in other markets, especially in the US, where Amazon dominates in online commerce, but Walmart remains the leader in the hand, despite many aggressive moves by Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods
India, Asia's second largest China's economy and one of the fastest growing markets in the world has become a key Amazon country The past few years have seen billions flow into the country and billions more for future investment. When it turned out that Walmart was also trying to join the country's largest local online retailer, Flipkart became the newest battleground between the two US giants.
Walmart obviously was not ready to give up. As we said last week, Walmart, which is selling its stake in Asda in the UK to Sainsbury's, would pave the way for the company to take a bigger step in India. That seems to have happened here.
It is still not clear whether Walmart will buy all investors with this deal, or whether it will only take a controlling stake and continue to involve other third parties.
Flipkart has raised approximately $ 7.3 billion since its inception in 2007, including with other investors Microsoft, eBay, Naspers, Tencent, Tiger Global, Accel and many more, and it was itself a consolidator last year eBay India bought.
But even though it is the country's largest online retailer, it has a rocky period in terms of its rating, which at one point amounted to more than $ 15 billion, but in its final round in 2017 to $ 11.6 billion Dollar has fallen, partly due to fierce competition from Amazon, Snapdeal and others.
Interestingly, we should point out this is not the first time that Son "announced" an Indian technology deal prematurely.
Two years ago, during another quarterly presentation, SoftBank CEO OYO – the hotel aggregator service that counts SoftBank as an investor – slid He acquired rival Zo Rooms, an agreement that was in India at that time much had been speculated.
Despite his revelation, the OYO-Zo deal never actually materialized. In fact, the two got into quarrels and even went to court, as the relationship increased after the collapse of the proposed agreement.
The size of the Flipkart Walmart binding is many orders of magnitude higher, with Flipkarts India's highest esteemed startup and a figurehead for the tech industry. Let's hope Mr. Son did it right this time.