Mumbai :Walmart is likely to announce its much-anticipated deal to buy a controlling stake in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart today, in what is likely to be the US retail giant’s biggest acquisition.
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart and its partner in the deal, Google parent Alphabet Inc, are looking to buy up to three quarters of Flipkart. Walmart will look to own a roughly 60% stake, while Alphabet will get about 15% ownership of the online marketplace, sources added.
The deal is likely to value Flipkart at roughly $18 billion to $20 billion.
The company was founded in 2007 in Bengaluru by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The Bansals, who are not related, met in 2005 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. They are both former employees of Amazon. At first, Flipkart sold books, and later expanding to sell music, movies, games, electronics and mobiles. Electronics and mobile sales have driven growth at the company.
The first book Flipkart sold was John Wood’s Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. It launched its logistics arm Ekart in 2010, and first started the now popular cash-on-delivery service.
Flipkart opened its first office in Bengaluru in 2008, and then expanded to open offices in Delhi and Mumbai in 2009. Last month, Flipkart consolidated all its Bengaluru offices in one large campus. In 2011, Flipkart domiciled to Singapore, as it looked to woo foreign investors to fund rapid growth.
The first billion-dollar Indian e-commerce company, Flipkart sells 8 million products across 80 plus categories. It has 100 million registered users, 100,000 sellers, 21 warehouses, 10 million daily page visits.
In 2016, Binny Bansal took over as CEO and Sachin Bansal became executive chairman. Last year, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, previously an executive in Flipkart investor Tiger Global, took over as Flipkart CEO. With that, Binny Bansal became CEO of the whole group, which includes fashion portals Myntra-Jabong, payments unit PhonePe and logistics firm Ekart.
The company’s board has seven members. Dropbox Inc’s chief technology officer, Aditya Agarwal, joined the board in 2014.
Mergers and acquistions
•Bought online apparel retailer Myntra in a deal pegged by sources at about $300 million in 2014, and another retailer Jabong for $70 million in 2016.
•Last year, Flipkart offered to buy rival Snapdeal but the deal fell through. SoftBank, Flipkart’s largest investor, also has a stake in Snapdeal, as does China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
•Flipkart bought payment startup PhonePe in 2016.
•In exchange for an equity stake in Flipkart, eBay agreed to make a $500 million cash investment in and sell its eBay.in business to Flipkart in 2017.
•Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp owns a fifth of Flipkart through its Vision Fund. SoftBank expected to sell its whole stake in the Walmart deal, Reuters reported last week.
•Early investors New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global and U.S. private-equity firm Accel Partners will sell a majority of their stakes, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
•Other investors include the founders and Napsers Ltd. China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, eBay Inc and Microsoft Corp invested $1.4 billion last year.
Financials, according to filings sourced by business intelligence platform paper.vc:
•Flipkart Group’s consolidated loss attributable to owners of the company in fiscal 2017 widened to Rs 87.70 billion, from Rs 52.16 billion a year earlier.
•Consolidated revenue jumped 29 percent to Rs 198.55 billion in fiscal 2017.
RBI asks banks to grout ATMs to wall, floor for security by September-end
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank asked banks to ensure their ATMs are grouted to a wall, pillar, or floor by September-end, except those installed in high secured premises such as airports, to enhance security of the cash vending machines.
In 2016, the RBI had st up a Committee on Currency Movement (CCM) to review the entire gamut of security of treasure in transit.
Based on the recommendations of the panel, the central bank has now issued instructions aimed at mitigating risks in ATM operations and enhancing security.
As part of the security measures, all “ATMs shall be operated for cash replenishment only with digital One Time Combination (OTC) locks”.
Also, “All ATMs shall be grouted to a structure (wall, pillar, floor, etc.) by September 30, 2019, except for ATMs installed in highly secured premises such as airports, etc. which have adequate CCTV coverage and are guarded by state/central security personnel”.
Further, banks may also consider rolling out a comprehensive e-surveillance mechanism at the ATMs to ensure timely alerts and quick response, it said.
The new measures to be adopted by banks are in addition to the existing instructions, practices and guidance issued by the RBI and law enforcement agencies.
The RBI also warned the banks that non-adherence of timelines or non-observance of the instructions would attract regulatory action including levy of penalty.
SBI refuses to disclose communication from RBI, govt on electoral bonds
New Delhi: The State Bank of India has refused to disclose any communication it received from the government or the Reserve Bank of India on electoral bonds, terming it “personal information” and held in “fiduciary capacity”.
Responding to an RTI filed by Pune-based activist Vihar Durve who had demanded copies of all letters, correspondence, directions, notifications or e-mails received from the RBI or any government department between 2017 and 2019, the SBI said it cannot be provided by it.
The bank cited two exemption clauses under the RTI Act to deny information — Section 8(1)(e) which pertains to information held in fiduciary capacity and Section 8(1)(J) which pertains to personal information of a person which has no link to any public activity.
“Information sought by the applicant cannot be disclosed as it is in fiduciary capacity, disclosure of which is exempted under Section 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005,” the Central Public Information Officer of the bank said in his reply.
The bank also refused to give any details of action taken by it on such communications from the RBI and the government.
The electoral bonds, for giving donations to political parties, are being sold through SBI only. The sale opens in SBI branches when the Finance Ministry issues a notification of their sale for a given period.
The scheme of electoral bonds notified by the Centre in 2018 has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
Only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the bonds.
The bonds may be purchased by a person who is a citizen of India “or incorporated or established in India,” the government had said in a statement last year.
The bonds remain valid for 15 days and can be encashed by an eligible political party only through an account with the authorised bank within that period only.
A voluntary group working in the field of electoral reforms, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), has demanded a stay on the sale while the CPI(M) has challenged it before the Supreme Court in separate petitions.
ADR recently filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018 which was notified by the Centre in January last year.
Walmart’s Flipkart, Indian startup GOQii settle dispute over sharp discounting
New Delhi: Walmart unit Flipkart has settled a legal dispute with an Indian startup that alleged it suffered losses because its products were sharply discounted on the global retailer’s website.
GOQii, a seller of smartwatch-type health devices, sued Flipkart last month in a Mumbai court, alleging its devices were discounted by around 70 per cent to the retail price, much more than the two sides had agreed. The court had, as an interim measure, ordered device sales to be halted on Flipkart.
In a joint statement , the companies said the dispute had been resolved and GOQii health devices would again be available on Flipkart. They didn’t say how the settlement was reached.
Vishal Gondal, CEO of GOQii, told Reuters the company would withdraw the case against Flipkart. The e-commerce retailer’s “team worked on a resolution benefitting the brand and the customers”, Gondal said in the statement.
The legal spat was seen as a test case of the giant retailer’s operating strategy in the country.
Small traders and a right-wing group close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party have raised concerns about large e-commerce companies, saying they burn billions of dollars deeply discounting some products to lure customers onto their sites, in the expectation that they will also buy other goods.
GOQii said it signed an agreement last year with a Flipkart unit to sell two of its devices at a price not below 1,999 rupees (USD 28.63) and 1,499 rupees. It later found the devices were being sold for 999 rupees and 699 rupees, calling it “unauthorized” discounting.
In response, Flipkart said it reserved “the right to institute actions for defamation, both civil and criminal”, arguing it wasn’t responsible for any discounts which are determined by third-party firms which sell via its website.
The two companies struck a friendlier tone in their joint-statement on Friday as they brought the legal battle to an end.
“We have ensured constant engagement with GOQii to resolve any differences,” Flipkart said in the statement.
With a 19 per cent market share, GOQii was the second-biggest player in India’s so-called wearables market last year, data from industry tracker IDC showed. The market is dominated by China’s Xiaomi, with Samsung a small player.
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