Walmart’s $16 bn acquisition of Flipkart gets CCI approval

Flipkart online shopThe Competition Commission of India, India’s antitrust regulator, has approved US retail giant Walmart’s $16 billion acquisition of Indian ecommerce firm Flipkart, Reuters reported.

Betonville, Arkansas-based Walmart announced in May it was acquiring about 77 percent of Flipkart for roughly $16 billion, the biggest deal in India’s ecommerce sector.

Morgan Stanley estimated that India’s e-commerce market will grow close to an annual $200 billion in a decade.

An Indian body of Traders Confederation of All India Traders had opposed the Walmart-Flipkart combination saying it would create unfair competition and drive local convenience stores out of business.

Earlier, Walmart said it may take Flipkart public in as early as four years.

The acquisition of Flipkart will give Walmart a stronger foothold in a market in which it has struggled to expand in the last decade partly due to restrictions around foreign investment in physical retail.

Amazon.com has already enhanced its presence in the fast growing e-commerce market in India.

SoftBank Group earlier said its operating profit jumped over 49 percent in the June quarter, helped by its sale of stake in Flipkart to Walmart.

The company, which registered operating income of ¥715 billion or $6.42 billion during the quarter, also attributed the growth to sale of the majority of chip designer ARM Holding’s Chinese operations.

“Operating income was boosted by valuation gain of ¥244.9 billion at SoftBank Vision Fund: valuation gain of ¥164.3 billion ($1.4 billion) was recorded for Flipkart based on the expected sales price, following the sales agreement,” SoftBank said in a statement.