With Walmart deal in the bag, Flipkart may now build a $1 bn M&A war chest

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Flipkart is gearing up for the next phase of expansion after its merger with Walmart and has kept aside around a billion dollar for mergers and acquisitions (M&As), sources said. Readying its game plan, the Bengaluru-based e-commerce giant plans to renew talks of investments in various companies such as Swiggy, BookMyShow, Pepperfry, UrbanClap, a slew of smaller firms, including insurance companies for the next stage of expansion.

According to sources, Flipkart was in talks with these firms last year for investment after receiving $2.5 billion from the SoftBank group. 

However, the talks were stalled after Walmart showed interest in buying a majority stake in Flipkart. The firm has been trying to create a whole ecosystem of services as well as products to take on Amazon India and Paytm, all hinged on its app as well as payments wallet PhonePe. 

Swiggy, Pepperfry and UrbanClap did not comment on the story and BookMyShow could not be contacted.

“Flipkart believes that by investing in companies such as Swiggy, Pepperfry, and BookMyShow, it would be able to fight off competition, coming from both Amazon and PhonePe. The first thing it would do after the merger with Walmart is secure minority stakes in all these players to complete the number of services its gives via its app,” said the source, adding the talks for these investments and mergers would be headed by Kalyan Krishnamurthy and his team, who is touted to continue with the company after Walmart takes over the firm. 

According to analysts, after the merger there will be consolidation in the services sector and companies are either going to align with Amazon, Flipkart or Paytm. 

Amazon India has already partnered with a slew of companies to expand their services and is using Amazon Pay as the primary wallet for payments of these services. The company has tied up with firms such as movie ticketing platform JusTickets, bus tickets portals Abhibus and redBus, mobile recharge and bill payments site Haptik, FreshMenu, Faasos, and InnerChef and others. 

It has also brought on-board services companies such as Housejoy.in, education app Byju’s and offline chains such as Café Coffee Day and gems and jewellery major Orra.

Paytm also provides a host of services starting from bill payments, travel, hotel bookings and ticketing, and online marketplace. It is soon going to launch mutual funds and investments on its app.  

Flipkart has been trying to bolster its grocery services and plans to make an acquisition. While Paytm Mall is now working closely with BigBasket, it is also expanding its own grocery segment. Amazon India has also a host of grocery services — Pantry and Amazon Now. “Flipkart would be doing something similar as it knows that users now want one-stop shop solutions for everything. That is how it can get long-term customers and not just the ones who are looking for discounted rates,” the source added.
CAIT seeks Prabhu’s intervention 

Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT)  on Monday said it seeks Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu’s intervention in the proposed $12-billion Flipkart-Walmart deal, saying the alliance will encourage malpractices and predatory pricing in e-commerce. 

In a letter to Prabhu, CAIT said the sale of Flipkart’s Singapore holding company should not be allowed till the time the government frames an e-commerce policy. The traders’ body argued that the government should make it mandatory that such deals can take place only when 75 per cent of the sellers on an e-platform give their assent since they would be the worst sufferers. PTI

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