Walmart’s Flipkart raises $3.6 billion, SoftBank returns as investor By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of India’s e-commerce firm Flipkart is seen in this illustration picture taken January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Illustration

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Walmart (NYSE:) Inc-owned Indian online retailer Flipkart on Monday ushered back Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (T:) as an investor in a $3.6 billion funding round, after which the e-commerce firm will be valued at $37.6 billion.

The fundraise comes amid Flipkart exploring going public in the United States and aiming for a valuation of up to $50 billion.

The latest funding was led by investors GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Walmart, the Bengaluru-based company, which rivals (NASDAQ:) and India’s Reliance Industries, said.

It also attracted investments from sovereign funds DisruptAD, Qatar Investment Authority, Khazanah Nasional Berhad and private equity firm Blackstone (NYSE:) Group-backed Antara Capital among others.

Japan’s SoftBank had sold its roughly 20% stake in Flipkart to Walmart, which acquired a roughly 77% stake for about $16 billion in 2018. The latest funding values the company at nearly double that rate.

“SoftBank’s re-investment in Flipkart is driven by our experience with and conviction in the company’s management team to continue addressing the needs of the Indian consumer in the decades to come,” Lydia Jett, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said.

Like its rival Amazon, Flipkart began by selling books, but diversified rapidly into sell selling smartphones, clothing and other items. It now competes with Amazon in most categories.

“We will focus on accelerating growth for millions of small and medium Indian businesses, including kiranas,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart Group CEO said in a statement.

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