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Flipkart – Walmart Deal: All The Latest Information

Ramya GovindRaj

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Three months ago reports surfaced the international retail giant Walmart was looking to invest in homegrown ecommerce startup Flipkart. While sources suggested the deal may close as soon as March, but new reports hinted Seattle based ecommerce giant Amazon.com was also looking to make a bid for a potential investment in the company. Since then, there has been a continuous back and forth between Walmart and Amazon to finalize a record breaking deal.

Recently, a number of key Flipkart shareholders agreed to sell their stakes in the company to Walmart. However, sources close to the development said SoftBank, which is the largest shareholder in Flipkart, is holding out for a better price. In order to become the largest investor in the Bengaluru based company, Walmart Inc., has already reached an agreement with the New York based investment firm Tiger Global Management, the South African media conglomerate Naspers, the venture capital firm Accel and China’s Tencent Holdings. According to The Economic Times, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal may sell a part of their stake in the company as well. However, a new hurdle in the form of the ecommerce firm eBay, may hamper the deal.

Recode reported, Walmart may have to first work out a deal with eBay, a Flipkart investor and partner, in order to buy a majority stake in India’s online shopping site. eBay, which invested close to $ 500 million in Flipkart last year, has a 5% stake in the business and handed over its eBay India operation as a part of the deal. Along with the investment, the San Jose based firm also signed a four year exclusive commercial arrangement to partner with Flipkart. The four year exclusive commercial arrangement gave the merchants who sell on Flipkart access to more than 150 million new customers from eBay, while eBay sellers outside of India got access to a new group of consumers inside the country. In accordance with this agreement, Walmart may not be able to seal merchandise based deals with Flipkart, unless Walmart and eBay come to some agreement. Recode further added, according to one person familiar with the arrangement eBay can also take back control of the eBay India brand name if Flipkart is acquired.

On the other hand, SoftBank has reportedly remained relatively cold to overtures made by Walmart. The Japan based venture firm invested close to $ 2.5 billion in Flipkart last year after the failed merger deal between Flipkart and Snapdeal. According to a report by The Economic Times, SoftBank was offered a $ 10-12 billion valuation to purchase its shares in Flipkart. One of the sources also said, “Discussions with SoftBank are still ongoing. Most of the others have come aboard. In a deal like this, there are always ebbs and flows, but there is a time factor to consider as well.

Flipkart has slowly grown to become one of the most valued company in the Indian startup ecosystem. With close to 8,000 permanent employees, the company has made at least 10 acquisitions in the 10 years of its existence. The firm managed to establish itself in the ecommerce industry by introducing the “cash on delivery” payment method, one of the biggest factors for its success.

 

Note: This article will be updated as and when we get further information.

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Google Job Search Feature Comes To India

Ramya GovindRaj

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Technology giant Google announced the launch another India focused product making it easier for users to search for jobs in India. In a blog post, the company announced their latest job search feature for India under Google for Jobs feature.

In the blog post, the company added, “Now we’re bringing job search to India. With this new experience, we aim to connect Indians to numerous opportunities across the country. No matter who you are or what kind of job you’re looking for, it will now be easier to find job postings that match your needs and skills.” Under this feature, users will be able to see in depth results of relevant job opportunities from across the web when users search for “jobs near me,” “jobs for freshers,” or similar job seeking queries.

Google also partnered with a number of organizations from across the industry including IBM Talent Management Solutions, LinkedIn, QuikrJobs and TimesJobs among others for this purpose. The tech giant aims to add a new functionality to the search engine to show a comprehensive listing of jobs on the results page.

With from a roster over a million listings, from some 90,000 employers nationwide, the company claims its tool can help job seekers at every level, from recent college grads to experienced managers. Users can click on the listings to bring up more information about the company and the role, as well as links to apply for the said role on various platforms.

The search results can also be narrowed down to fewer and more relevant listings by adding filters such as preferred title, location and contract type. “We’ll continue to add relevant filters, and surface more pertinent job related information in the future. This new jobs search experience will be available in English on the Search app on Android and iOS, in Google search on the desktop and mobile,” the company further added.

Both the desktop and the Android versions of the search engine have been integrated with the new tool along with an open source framework called Open Documentation. All third party job search platforms and direct employers, big or small can make their job openings discoverable through the Open Documentation framework. At present, the Indian online job market is showing healthy growth with 63% of people slated to access online job postings and more than 50% of job related queries originating from mobile users.

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Walmart To Buy Controlling Stakes In Flipkart By Next Week

Ramya GovindRaj

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America’s biggest retail firm Walmart Inc., may buy close to a 51% stake in India’s biggest ecommerce startup Flipkart by the end of next week. Reuters reported, according to two sources close to the matter, Walmart could acquire controlling stakes in Flipkart as early as next week.

The investment talks met a snag when SoftBank was reportedly not ready to sell its shares in the Indian ecommerce firm to Walmart. Currently, the Japan based venture firm owns about one fifth of Flipkart through its Vision Fund. However, sources report the stalemate ended but it is still unclear if SoftBank agreed to sell some of its shares in Flipkart. Sources also revealed, Walmart offered to buy SoftBank shares at a valuation of $12 billion, a price the Japanese tech investor considered to be low. MoneyControl reported Walmart may retain Flipkart’s management team including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kalyan Krishnamurthy. This investment could increase Flipkart’s valuation to about $20 billion, up from $12 billion last year.

India has become ground zero for the ecommerce ecosystem with big global players looking to invest in Indian firms and break into the market. Amazon India has also gone into overdrive in an attempt to emerge as the biggest shareholder of the Indian ecommerce industry which is expected to reach a market capitalization of $ 28 billion by 2020. Flipkart, on the other hand, envisioned as the ‘Amazon of India’ has raised over $6 billion in funding rounds so far and owns India’s largest online fashion retailers Myntra and Jabong.

According to a report by Morgan Stanley, India had up to 60 million online shoppers in 2016, which makes up to only 14% of the internet user base in the country. However, by 2026, these numbers are expected to rise to over 50%. Experts suggest, in the long run, this deal between Walmart and Flipkart could be a win for both the companies. Flipkart could also be the best available option for Walmart to access India’s growing retail market, while Flipkart could leverage Walmart’s enormous funds to battle Amazon. Amazon and Walmart have been bitter competitors in America for over two decades. It will be interesting to see, to say the least, who wins this battle and who wins the war in the Indian ecommerce battleground.

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Marissa Mayer Creates Tech Startup Incubator

Smruthi Kishore

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Marissa Mayer, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Yahoo, is starting a brand new business incubator called Lumi Labs in partnership with long time colleague, Enrique Munoz Torres. According to reports, the new business incubator will aim to focus on consumer media and artificial intelligence.

While the incubator in itself is extremely intriguing, what makes the idea all the more exciting is the fact that Mayers is going back to the roots of her work. It is a homecoming of sorts for her as Mayer has rented out Google’s original office in Palo Alto, California, where she had started her career as a 24 year old Stanford University graduate.

This particular Google office has a lot of special things attached to its name. The office was home to online payments company, PayPal, which was started by a host of co founders including Tesla founder, Elon Musk. Marrisa was selected as the 20th employee of Google in the year 1999 and was in fact, the first female engineer to get a job at the largest search engine!

Mayer left the Google office after 13 long years and joined Yahoo in the year 2012 for five long years! Despite being regarded as the Geek Goddess at Google, she failed to revive Yahoo’s stalled business even after trying her best. While not a lot has been revealed about the new business incubator Mayer’s and Torres are working on, the premise in itself looks extremely exciting. With more and more people venturing into the field of artificial intelligence, the fact that Mayer’s business will be combined with consumer media is what will eventually make all the difference!

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