SoftBank invests $2.5 billion in Flipkart

Earlier there were speculations that Softbank would invest in Flipkart with the only condition of Flipkart acquiring Snapdeal, however, after last week's development of Snapdeal deciding to go ahead alone, there were doubts over this deal.

Flipkart, which raised US$1.4bil (RM6bil) in April from China's Tencent, online marketplace eBay and software giant Microsoft, will now have more than US$4bil (RM17.1bil) of cash, the Bengaluru-based company said in a statement on Thursday.

The investment is a mix of primary and secondary capital and the ET reports that it will give a partial exit to Flipkart's biggest backer Tiger Global. The soon approaching festive season will prove to be a litmus test for both Amazon and Flipkart, in the race to be crowned as top ecommerce player in India. All in all, the investments leave Flipkart with more than $4 billion on its balance sheet to spend.

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Another leading investor Ravi Gururaj was of the view that the recent funding has just made things hard for the other global players such as Rakuten, Walmart and Alibaba to make a roadway in the Indian e-commerce market.

"SoftBank's proven track record of partnering with transformative technology leaders has earned it the reputation of being a visionary investor". We want to support innovative companies because they are best positioned to leverage technology.

In a joint statement issued to media, Flipkart founders, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal termed the deal as monumental for Flipkart and India.

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Masayoshi Son, founder and chairman and chief executive of SoftBank Group Corp said, "India is a land of vast opportunity". The fund is now headed by Softbank Group founder and CEO Masayoshi Son and India born Rajeev Misra, designated as CEO of SVF. Citi served as financial advisor and AZB and Partners served as legal advisor to the SoftBank Vision Fund.

eMarketer estimates that retail ecommerce sales in the country will total $22.35 billion this year, but account for just 2.2% of total retail sales. Consumers can now expect a lot more fireworks, because Amazon will have to match every offer made by Flipkart.

Softbank's investment fund, which is now one of Flipkart's biggest shareholders, is also backed by the government of Saudi Arabia, Apple, Qualcomm, and manufacturing heavyweight Foxconn, among others. Snapdeal is a portfolio company of SoftBank.

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This was especially significant as Flipkart is competing against the cash-rich Amazon.

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