Softbank flip-flop on Flipkart: Japanese company returns to Indian e-merchant with $ 600 million check

Japanese investor SoftBank is set to return to Flipkart, three years after leaving the Indian e-commerce company after US retailer Walmart took over the latter.

Sources told CNBC-TV18 that SoftBank is now on the cusp of investing in the company again and may hand Flipkart a hefty check for $ 500-600 million. SoftBank’s funding could be part of a larger $ 2-3 billion round of funding, sources added, which would value the e-commerce player at around $ 30 billion.

Flipkart was valued at $ 24.9 billion last year following $ 1.2 billion in funding from Walmart. Now, the new cycle could see the participation of several sovereign funds, notably from the Middle East, which are also the sponsors of SoftBank.

The round could be seen as pre-IPO funding, as the ecommerce company is expected to head towards an IPO by next year, primarily 2022, according to reports.

Flipkart and SoftBank did not comment.

Flipkart reshuffled the company’s board late last year ahead of its IPO, seeing high-profile entries and exits. CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy served on the board from 2021, while HDFC CEO Keki Mistry also joined the board. Among the outputs of Flipakrt’s high-level board of directors are Steuart Walton of the Walton family, which is the founding family of Walmart.

Walmart reiterated in its March quarterly earnings call that Flipkart and the payment arm PhonePe performed well in the quarter.


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