India favours Walmart over Amazon to buy Flipkart


BANGALORE • Walmart Inc looks likely to take the next round in the battle for India’s retail market over rival Inc.

Flipkart Online Services Pte Ltd, the country’s leading e-commerce company, is leaning toward selling a controlling stake to the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company, rather than Amazon, because of the greater certainty in such a deal, according to people familiar with the matter. Both US companies are bidding for a controlling stake in Flipkart at a valuation of about US$20 billion (RM77.49 billion), said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Flipkart’s board recently met to discuss the competing proposals and thinks Walmart could close a deal more quickly and smoothly, the people said. Walmart faces fewer regulatory hurdles because it has no online retail presence in the country now, while Amazon is the secondlargest e-commerce player and Flipkart’s primary rival.

Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal also favour Walmart because they would continue to help lead the business and the US company’s executives have emphasised their commitment to the market.

A Walmart deal has been discussed since at least last year and could still change or fall apart.

SoftBank Group Corp, Flipkart’s largest shareholder, may prefer a sale to Amazon in part because of its success in cracking open the e-commerce business, one of the people said.