US retail giant Walmart has announced it will secure a majority stake in Indian online sales behemoth Flipkart. The planned transaction — a blockbuster takeover — marks the world's biggest e-commerce deal ever.
Walmart said Wednesday it would buy a 77-percent stake in India's Flipkart for $16 billion (€13.5 billion) in the world's largest e-commerce deal in history.
The spectacular acquisition is a major blow to rival Amazon's ambitions in India. Flipkart and Amazon have long been struggling for domination of one of the fastest-growing online retail markets in the world.
"India is one of the most attractive retail markets, given its size and growth rate," Walmart President Doug McMillon said in a statement. "Our investment is an opportunity to partner with the company that is leading transformation of e-commerce in the market."
Walmart said it would pump an additional $2 billion into Flipkart, giving the Indian retailer a better deal in fighting off the huge challenge from Amazon.
Lucrative business ahead
Flipkart co-founder and Group CEO Binny Bansal said the deal was of immense importance for India and would help fuel the company's ambition to deepen its connection with buyers and sellers.
E-commerce sales in India hit $21 billion in 2017 according to market research company Forrester. Revenues are expected to soar further as the country's population of 1.25 billion people makes greater use of internet access.
Flipkart was founded back in 2007 and like Amazon started out as an online bookstore. It now sells everything from mobile phones, television sets and juicers to running shoes, sofas and beauty products.
hg/aos (AFP, dpa)