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SoftBank confirms selling ‘entire stake’ in Flipkart to Walmart

SoftBank Group said on Wednesday it is selling its roughly 20 percent stake in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart to Walmart.

Walmart said earlier this month it will pay $16 billion (roughly Rs. 1.1 lakh crores) for a roughly 77 percent stake in Flipkart, the US retailer’s largest-ever deal.

A SoftBank spokesman declined to give further details.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said earlier this month the $2.5 billion (roughly Rs. 17,000 crores) investment through its private equity fund in Flipkart made last year was worth $4 billion (roughly Rs. 27,000 crores).

Walmart earlier in May said in a filing with a US regulator that it may take Flipkart public in as early as four years, detailing for the first time a potential listing timeline for Walmart’s largest-ever acquisition.

Minority investors holding 60 percent of Flipkart’s shares “acting together, may require Flipkart to effect an initial public offering” (IPO) four years after the close of the Walmart-Flipkart transaction, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said in a May 11 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The IPO should be done at no less a valuation than that at which Walmart invested in the Indian firm, the filing said.

Walmart-Flipkart deal, capping almost two years of talks, will help Walmart fortify and boost market share against Amazon.com, which reportedly had tried to make a competing offer for a stake.

Buying a stake in Flipkart, which sells everything from soaps to smartphones and from books to clothes, gives Walmart access to the fledgling Indian e-commerce market that could potentially be worth $200 billion (roughly Rs. 13.4 lakh crores) in a decade, according to Morgan Stanley.

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