Mumbai: Walmart Inc is in talks to purchase a stake of more than 40 percent in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart, a direct challenge to Amazon.com Inc in Asia's third-largest economy, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
In what would be one of its biggest overseas deals, the U.S. retailer is looking at buying new and existing shares in Flipkart and due diligence is likely to begin as early as next week, the sources said. They declined to be named as the talks were private.
Terms under discussion were not immediately available, but Flipkart would be valued at more than the $12 billion figure given when Japan's SoftBank Group Corp's Vision Fund took roughly a fifth of the firm last year for $2.5 billion, they added.
Existing investors in Flipkart also include U.S. hedge fund Tiger Global Management, China's Tencent Holdings Ltd, online marketplace eBay Inc and software giant Microsoft Corp.
A spokesman for Flipkart said the company does not comment on rumours or speculation. An India-based representative for Walmart declined to comment.
Last year in April, Flipkart had announced to issue additional shares to eligible employees in efforts to ensure their stake remains at a "steady level" after the latest fund raising round that came at a lower valuation. The Bengaluru-based firm, had raised $1.4 billion at a valuation of $11.6 billion, which was lower than the earlier funding raised in 2015, when Flipkart was valued at $15.2 billion.
Flipkart had raised $1.4 billion in April last year- the biggest ever in its 10-year history in its bid for a larger share of the country's burgeoning online retail market. Tencent, eBay and Microsoft had made investments aggregating to $1.4 billion in Flipkart, the e-commerce major said in a statement, at a post-transaction valuation of $11.6 billion
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