Friday, 23 February, 2018

SoftBank invests $2.5 billion in Flipkart

FLIPKART FUND Flipkart Announces Funding from SoftBank, Calls It 'Biggest Private Investment in an Indian Tech Company'
Sammy Stanley | 11 August, 2017, 01:22

SoftBank Vision Fund has become one of the largest shareholders in Flipkart as it just raked in a significant amount of investment in the company.

The SoftBank Vision Fund has invested in Flipkart via a mix of direct capital infusion and buying out stakes from some of the firm's existing investors, the statement said without giving details.

"The funding round further solidifies Flipkart's balance sheet and will help accelerate investment in driving continued market leadership", it said. Out of the total $1.9 Bn fundraise in these 55 deals Flipkart's earlier round contributed the most ($1.4 Bn).

In a joint statement issued to media, Flipkart founders, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal termed the deal as monumental for Flipkart and India. The investment is a part of the earlier $1.4 Bn round from Tencent, eBay, and Microsoft. "We want to support innovative companies that are clear winners in India because they are best positioned to leverage technology and help people lead better lives".

SoftBank was supposed to invest $1.52 billion in the proposed merged Snapdeal-Flipkart entity, but after the talks fell through, SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son said that he respects the decision of the founders and chose to focus the fund's effort in Flipkart.

Online retailer Flipkart has raised as much as $2.4 billion from Japanese telecom and Internet conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. The secondary capital may have been raised by dilution of Tiger Global's 28% stake, resulting in SoftBank Vision Fund as the highest stakeholder.

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Son had at that time said he respects Snapdeal's decision to pursue an independent strategy.

Flipkart is on the leading e-commerce in India.

Soon after calling off a potential deal, Chief Executive Bahl said the company, which has been steadily ceding market share to Flipkart and Amazon, will run a stripped-down version of its online marketplace in its second-coming and sell some of its non-core assets. The investment ranks as the largest private bet on an Indian tech company.

This investment comes weeks after a possible deal between Flipkart and Snapdeal fell through. The talks collapsed at the end of July, but multiple reports suggested SoftBank would participate in Flipkart's next funding round. In coming days, we may now witness the ecommerce battle between two parties: Amazon on one side and a consortium of Flipkart-Paytm-Alibaba-eBay-Softbank on the other. Snapdeal is a portfolio company of SoftBank.

He also added that even then (if Flipkart and Paytm come together), it will be hard to topple Amazon.

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