Global majors Walmart, Amazon, Google in battle for Flipkart
09 April 2018
Flipkart is at the centre of a major battle with three of the world’s top companies – Walmart, Amazon and Google – being involved in a bitter fight to take control of it.
And Japan’s Softbank, a key investor in Flipkart, is believed to be closely monitoring the development and is also reluctant to let go off its hold for the time being.
Late last year, Softbank was keen on ploughing in about $10 billion by acquiring shares from former and existing employees of Flipkart, but of late it was seen as trying to sell off part of its stake.
Walmart is keen on acquiring a controlling stake in Flipkart, which would enable it to make a strong presence in the Indian retail market.
Not to be left behind, Amazon is also planning to acquire a stake in Flipkart, which could lead to its gaining a dominant control over the Indian online retail market and thus drawing the attention of the Competition Commission of India.
The possible merger of the world’s top online retailer with its Indian counterpart is a highly sensitive issue. The Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), says such a merger could impact merchants negatively, reducing their bargaining power.
“Any abuse of dominance, in the form of the merged entity dictating its terms and condition on merchants, is also a perceived threat,” says CUTS. “The merger may also impact offline retailers, if lower cost products are available on online platform, owing to lower costs associated with using information and communication technology.”
Top Flipkart officials, including founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (both of whom had earlier worked for Amazon), have been in talks with several of these players for a possible sale of the controlling stake.
Walmart is keen to have a significant presence in the Indian e-commerce market, expected to balloon to $200 billion in less than 10 years. Flipkart currently has a nearly 40 per cent control over the online retail market in India.