Flipkart to raise funds again

Flipkart to raise funds again

Plans to raise $2 billion from eBay, Tencent and Microsoft; Likely to be last round of funding

Flipkart to raise funds again

Undaunted by its markdowns and teething problem of seniors quitting from top positions, Indian ecommerce behemoth Flipkart is vigorously pursuing to notch $2 billion as its last leg of fundraising efforts backed by eBay, Microsoft and China’s Tencent.

According to sources familiar with the development, Flipkart has already secured $1 billion from Tencent and Microsoft at a time when its valuation is close to $10 billion, lower than its previous high of around $15 billion.

Online giant eBay, which started ecommerce in India in 2014, is in talks with Flipkart to sell its underperforming unit. Sources said that besides finding value for its existing business, the company also plans to further invest in Flipkart.

A senior official who worked with eBay India said it is a huge advantage for Flipkart to buy eBay as it gives access to its global inventory in their all market. “From eBay’s perspective, the company made the only minimal investment in the country, compared with other regions. So now they will have to take a call on whether they should start from scratch or start investing in other companies. In South Korea, they had a successful investment in Gmarket and Auction platforms. It is time for them to replicate it in India,” he said.

The eBay acquisition will give the company access to consumer-to-consumer (C2C) ecommerce market. eBay reported losses of Rs 262 crore for the year ended March 2016 in comparison with Rs 172 crore in 2015. Also, it recently replaced India head Latif Nathani by Vidmay Naini.

According to an analyst, Flipkart is under pressure to raise $2 billion to pave the way for some exits. “This fresh fundraising is long overdue and should happen within a couple of months. Flipkart needs money badly to sustain its business. Also, the company plans to go ahead with IPO in 2018 as it finds it difficult to raise more funds any longer,” he said.

Flipkart was devalued by Morgan Stanley at about $5.5 billion, compared to the $15.2 billion it was valued at in May 2015. The company recently underwent some structural changes led by its Tiger Global, Accel Partners and Naspers who own 50% to 55% shares of the company.

Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who is the company’s current CEO, after working as interim finance chief first and sales head later starting May 2013, helped in its turnaround with Flipkart’s first Big Billion Day sale in October 2014.

But analysts find that Flipkart is still lagging behind Amazon in terms of transaction volumes. “Amazon India has more than 100 million products to Flipkart’s 80 million. Here, Flipkart should increase its volume in other major categories where Indian shoppers do have more liking,” said an analyst.