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India set for largest M&A deal today: Walmart to buy Flipkart for $15 bn

Walmart is expected to announce the deal to pick up close to 75 per cent stake in Flipkart sometime Wednesday afternoon

Karan Choudhury & Samreen Ahmad  |  New Delhi/Bengaluru 

Walmar, Flipkart
Representative Image

A day ahead of the announcement of the Walmart-Flipkart deal, the largest through the M&A route and marking the American firm’s real entry into India, both organisations were in waiting. The Flipkart campus at Bengaluru’s Embassy Tech Village was dressing up for a town hall meeting with Carl Douglas McMillon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart Inc, while preparing to shed the life of a start-up. The Gurugram headquarters of Walmart India too was busy setting things up for a similar meeting with Doug, as the CEO of the Bentonville major is popularly known as.

Doug, accompanied by his top team including president and chief executive of Walmart International Judith McKenna, and CEO ecommerce Marc Lore, has flown in from the US already to seal the deal with Flipkart. Some last-minute meetings were lined up till late evening of Tuesday for finalising the sale agreement draft, a complex business with so many investors on board. Doug’s meeting with Walmart India employees is expected Thursday morning, a day after the announcement of the transaction, before he proceeds to meet the Flipkart staffers.

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Carl Douglas McMillon

CEO Carl Douglas McMillon’s meeting with Walmart India employees is expected on Thursday

Walmart is picking up close to 75 per cent in Flipkart, sources said. Walmart, traditionally a brick and mortar giant, is investing $15 billion in the Bengaluru firm, founded in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal—not related to each other. With this, Flipkart will be valued at an estimated $20 billion or more. Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank, the largest investor in Flipkart, is making an exit, sources indicated. And so is Sachin Bansal, who’s selling his approximately 5 per cent stake in the business. and Flipkart are likely to continue with Flipkart even after the deal.

It is learnt that the Walmart top management would travel to India frequently over the next few months to complete the process of integration.

India set for largest M&A deal today: Walmart to buy Flipkart for $15 bn

At the Flipkart office, the senior management and team leaders have been busy answering employee questions related to management change over the last few days, a source said.

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“There have been questions ranging from layoffs to a change in work culture. It is learnt that the management has given an assurance that there would be no job cuts and things would be business as usual. Not only that, there’s hope of a better performance appraisal once Flipkart becomes part of Walmart.

First Published: Wed, May 09 2018. 07:05 IST