Walmart’s Indian e-commerce company Flipkart has internally raised its IPO (Initial public offering) valuation target by around a third to $60-70 billion (roughly Rs. 456051.3 crore to Rs. 532003.85 crore), and now plans a US listing in 2023 instead of this year, two sources with direct knowledge of the plan told Reuters.
The main reason for waiting for the IPO is due to Flipkart’s internal plan to boost valuations further by focussing on two of its relatively new businesses —online healthcare services and travel bookings, two of the sources with direct knowledge said.
Two separate sources familiar with Flipkart’s plans said the ongoing global market turmoil sparked by the Russia-Ukraine crisis also forced the Indian company to reconsider its timeline.
Flipkart acquired Indian travel booking website Cleartrip in 2021, and this week launched a “Health+” app to offer medicines as well as other healthcare products and services.
“Flipkart thinks there is an even bigger upside of valuation than originally envisaged … The travel business has started showing great signs already for them,” said the first source.
The first source said the IPO valuation target could be as high as $70 billion, while the second said it could be between $60 to $65 billion (roughly Rs. 456051.3 crore to Rs. 494003.575 crore). Flipkart didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Asked about the IPO’s timeline, Walmart CFO Brett Biggs told an analysts conference in December that Flipkart’s business was “performing almost exactly like we thought” and an “IPO is still very much in the cards”, without specifying when the company will list.
The listing, according to sources, is now being planned for early-to-mid 2023. Flipkart is incorporated in Singapore and wants to list in the United States, they added.
The IPO planning comes amid growing protests from Indian brick-and-mortar retailers that Flipkart and Amazon bypass federal regulations and favour select sellers, allegations the companies deny. India is also working on a slew of e-commerce sector regulations that could spook foreign giants. Walmart acquired a roughly 77 percent stake in Flipkart for about $16 billion (roughly Rs. 1,215,62 crore) in 2018 – its biggest deal ever – and said later that year that it could take the company public in four years.
Just last year, Flipkart raised $3.6 billion (roughly Rs. 27351.45 crore) in a funding round, giving it a valuation of $37.6 billion (roughly Rs. 285670.7 crore).
That fund raising helped bolster the company’s financial position, and it had enough cash right now for expansion, meaning an IPO wasn’t a necessity at this stage, said one of the sources.
India’s IPO market has slowed after having boomed as enthusiastic retail investors and a pandemic-induced flood of easy money pushed prices to record highs, encouraging a slew of Indian tech companies like Paytm and Zomato to go public.
More than 60 companies made their market debut in India in 2021 and raised a total of more than $13.7 billion (roughly Rs. 104086.435 crore), which was more than the previous three years combined.
© Thomson Reuters 2022