Indian firms Flipkart, PhonePe can have more investors: Walmart CEO

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Doug McMillon
Walmart CEO, Mr. Doug McMillon

The US-based multinational retail company, Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon said that its Indian eCommerce firm Flipkart and digital payments business PhonePe have space for other investors and could raise money in many ways, including the stock market listings.

The world’s largest retailer by sales, acquired about 77 percent of Flipkart for roughly $16 billion in 2018, the biggest transaction in India’s eCommerce sector. Chinese tech giant Tencent, US investment company Tiger Global and US venture capital firm Accel are the other investors of Flipkart.

“As we invested we did mention that our plan is to IPO and that hasn’t changed,” said the CEO of the retail giant.

According to the reports, Flipkart, headquartered in Bengaluru, is planning for an initial public offering (IPO) as early as 2021, which could increase the value of the company up to $50 billion. Mr. McMillon refused to provide more information but said that both Flipkart and PhonePe could diversify in a variety of ways including IPOs.

“Flipkart and PhonePe both need funding, they’re both growing so quickly. There’s lots of room to invest and we’re excited about being a majority investor, but there is room for other people,” he said.

Last week, PhonePe said it would sell a $700 million stake to existing investors in a bid to support the growth of the company in the competitive fintech market where it competes with Alphabet’s Google and Alibaba-backed Paytm.

Walmart also said in a statement that it will triple its Indian-made goods exports by 2027 to $10 billion annually. It further added that the company will help the new suppliers in sectors such as food, pharmaceuticals, consumables and apparel.

India is one of Walmart’s top sourcing markets for items such as jewelry and homeware, with annual exports of about $3 billion. Earlier this year, Flipkart acquired Walmart’s wholesale business in India.