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Flipkart, from online bookseller to India’s biggest e-commerce company

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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.

The people

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.

Investors

•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.


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Saudi signs deals to invest USD 20 bn in cash-strapped Pakistan

Press Trust of India

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Islamabad: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have signed a slew of investment agreements worth USD 20 billion which will provide a welcome relief to the teetering economy of the cash-strapped South Asian country.

At a ceremony in the Prime Minister House, Pakistan and Saudi officials signed MoUs for bilateral cooperation in a number of areas a process overseen by Pakistan premier Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who arrived in Pakistan on Sunday evening on a two-day visit.

“Today we signed MoUs. The amount of that kind of investment is USD 20 billion. It is big for phase one and definitely it (Saudi investment in Pakistan) will grow every month, every year in bigger numbers and it will be beneficial for both the countries,” the crown prince said.

 

“Pakistan is going to be very, very important country in the future and we want to be sure we are part of that,” he added.

Seven agreements, including MoUs in power, petrochemical and mining sectors, were inked as Prince Salman launched his diplomatic trip to Asia in Islamabad.

After Pakistan, the crown prince will travel to India, where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

He is expected to finish the trip with a visit to China on Thursday and Friday.

Prince Salman said Saudi “cannot say no to Pakistan, whatever you (Pakistan) want we will do.”

“For Pakistanis, this is a great day,” the Pakistani premier said while addressing a dinner reception held in honour of the visiting Saudi guests at the PM House.

He said Saudi Arabia has always been there when Pakistan needed friends.

“I want to thank you for the way you helped us when we were in (a) bad situation,” Khan told the royal guest, adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were now taking their relationship to a new level, where investment agreements would be mutually beneficial for the countries.

“The future is exciting for both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia after joining hands,” he said.

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Cement, fruit shipments from Pakistan among 10 most hit imports after duty hike

Agencies

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New Delhi: Fresh fruits, cement and leather are among the 10 main imported items from Pakistan that would take a major hit following the imposition of 200 per cent customs duty by India on products from the neighbouring country in the aftermath of Pulwama attack, say experts.

The top ten products exported by Pakistan to India include fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products, minerals, and leather. Processed minerals, inorganic chemicals, raw cotton including waste, cotton fabrics, and glass and glassware are also among such items that account for 95 per cent of the total shipments.

“After drastically hiking the import duty on goods coming from Pakistan, we will isolate them in front of trade. Hiking of the duty at this level would completely hit exporters of Pakistan,” Professor Biswajit Dhar of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said.

 

Sharing similar views, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai said that Pakistan would face significant impact due to this decision.

The two main items imported from Pakistan are fruits and cement, which attracted customs duty of 30-50 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively.

Domestic importers who have already placed their orders from Pakistan may face issues after this decision. They may have to pay the 200 per cent duty or undertake lot of paperwork to get their consignments, an industry source said.

Taking strong economic action against Pakistan following the Pulwama attack, India Saturday raised the customs duty to 200 per cent on all goods imported from the neighbouring country.

India’s imports from Pakistan had increased to USD 488.5 million in 2017-18 from USD 455.5 billion in 2016-17.

Hike in the duty would drastically increase the prices of Pakistani goods in Indian markets which would make them far less competitive as compared to other imported goods. Slapping an import duty of 200 per cent effectively means almost banning the imports from Pakistan.

Total India-Pakistan trade has increased marginally to USD 2.41 billion in 2017-18 as against USD 2.27 billion in 2016-17.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

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India needs fewer but stronger, mega banks: FM Jaitley after RBI meet

Agencies

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressed the customary post-budget meeting of the central board of the Reserve Bank on Monday.

Post the meeting, Jaitley said India needs fewer and mega banks which are strong.

“India needs fewer and mega banks which are strong because in every sense from borrowing rates to optimum utilisation the economies of scale as far as the banking sector is concerned are of great help,” Jaitley said.

 

On interim dividend, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the central bank will take the decision based on the report by Bimal Jalan-led Committee.

Das also said that the RBI will discuss the issue of transmission of rate cut with bank chiefs on February 21.

Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank cut the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 per cent to 6.25 per cent.

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