ECONOMY

Walmart’s Flipkart to Raise Funding at $40 Billion Value

Flipkart has completed a fundraising round valuing the Indian online retailer at about $40 billion, with main owner Walmart Inc. joining investors including SoftBank Group Corp. in injecting almost $4 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

Blackstone Group Inc.-backed Antara Capital and half-a-dozen several sovereign wealth and pension funds are also participating, the people said, asking not to be named as the deal isn’t public. Those include the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and the country’s sovereign fund ADQ, Singapore’s GIC Pte, Qatar Investment Authority and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The funding round is a boon for Flipkart and U.S. retail giant Walmart, which bought a majority of the Indian company three years ago for $16 billion and has been working toward an initial public offering for the business. It has since carved out the payments arm PhonePe from Flipkart, a unit that could be valued at close to $10 billion, the people said.

Flipkart representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment. The new fundraising could be announced as soon as this week.

Japan’s SoftBank, which had previously backed Flipkart and then sold its stake to Walmart at a handsome profit, is back as a shareholder. Investors are plowing billions of dollars into India’s consumer internet and software-as-a-service startups, which are growing rapidly and benefiting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest fundraising round could set up Flipkart for an IPO in the U.S. in 2022. The company is seeking capital as competition rises in India’s online retail market, with rivals Amazon.com Inc., homegrown Reliance Industries Ltd. and the Tata Group boosting spending to sign up more merchants and attract customers.

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