The Bengaluru-based online retailer has been weighing a US initial public offering and it’s now also looking at other options, the people said. Flipkart’s advisers have approached several SPACs, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is not public. Flipkart could seek a valuation of at least $35 billion in a blank-check transaction, as per a Bloomberg report.
Deliberations are at an early stage and Flipkart could still explore other options, the people said. A representative for Flipkart had no immediate comment.
The e-commerce firm is joining other Indian firms like online grocer Grofers in exploring a US listing through SPAC deals. Last week, ReNew Power agreed to merge with a US-listed special purpose acquisition company in a deal that will give India’s biggest renewable power producer an enterprise value of $8 bn.
Merging with SPACs, which are shell companies that raise money from public investors intending to acquire a business within two years, will allow Walmart to take its India unit to market at a faster pace than the usual IPO route. As many as 10 Indian firms could go public through SPAC deals before the end of the year, Utpal Oza, head of investment banking for India at Nomura Holdings Inc., said in an interview.
Flipkart, which is battling with e-commerce arch-rival Amazon.com Inc. and Mukesh Ambani’s retail venture for market share in India, started operations in 2007 and now sells 80 mn products on its platforms. Walmart acquired a majority stake in Flipkart in a $16 bn deal in 2018.
Voice search in ‘Hinglish’
Flipkart has introduced voice search in Hindi, English as well as Hinglish on its platform to enable customers to search from a pool of over 150 million products across over 80 categories through speech. Flipkart said this feature will enable faster on-boarding of customers from smaller towns and simplify their e-commerce journey. Over 75 pc of Internet users in India come from non-English speaking backgrounds. As per a joint study conducted by Bain & Company and Flipkart in 2020, online shoppers in tier-2 cities makeup nearly half of all shoppers.