Walmart Inc-owned Indian online retailer Flipkart Pvt Ltd yesterday ushered back Japan’s Softbank Group Corp as an investor in a US$3.6 billion funding round, after which the e-commerce firm would be valued at US$37.6 billion.
The fundraising comes amid Flipkart exploring going public in the US and aiming for a valuation of up to US$50 billion.
The latest funding was led by investors GIC Pte, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Softbank Vision Fund 2 and Walmart, the Bengaluru-based company, which rivals Amazon.com Inc and India’s Reliance Industries Ltd, said.
It also attracted investments from sovereign funds DisruptAD, Qatar Investment Authority, Khazanah Nasional Berhad and private equity firm Blackstone Group-backed Antara Capital LP among others.
Japan’s Softbank had sold its nearly 20 percent stake in Flipkart to Walmart, which acquired an about 77 percent stake for about US$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,” Softbank Investment Advisers partner Lydia Jett said.
Like its rival Amazon, Flipkart began by selling books, but diversified rapidly into sell selling smartphones, clothing and other items. It competes with Amazon in most categories.
“We will focus on accelerating growth for millions of small and medium Indian businesses, including kiranas,” Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said in a statement, using a term for local mom-and-pop stores.
Separately, Amazon said its online stores had returned to normal services after a global outage disrupted shopping on its country sites.
According to outage monitoring Web site Downdetector, services were disrupted for nearly two hours and at the peak of the disruption, more than 38,000 user reports indicated issues with Amazon’s online stores. They occurred on Sunday evening in the US and yesterday morning for much of the rest of the world.
“Some customers might have temporarily experienced issues while shopping. We have resolved the issue, and everything is now running smoothly,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
The spokesperson declined to comment on the reason for the outage.
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