Walmart may launch Flipkart IPO in as early as 4 years

Walmart Beats Amazon To $16 Billion Flipkart Deal, Brings E-Commerce Battle To India

With regard to the board composition, for now it will have eight directors down from ten-out of which five will be appointed by Walmart; while two will be representatives of minority shareholders Tiger Global and Chinese internet major Tencent, along with Binny Bansal. The Flipkart share purchase deal is likely to close by 9 March 2019.

Furthermore, Walmart has shed some light on its plans to come out with an initial public offering (IPO) for Flipkart.

U.S. retail giant Walmart is looking to retain Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and other minority investors such as Tiger Global for at least four years, promising that it will protect the valuation of their shareholding and offer them the potential upside of taking the company public. For at least two years following closing of the transactions, two of the Walmart-appointed directors won't be affiliated with Walmart.

The filing also says that there are no termination fees linked to the deal.

Last week, Walmart acquired 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for about United States dollars 16 billion (over Rs 1 lakh crore) in the country's largest acquisition and the world's biggest purchase of an ecommerce firm.

"Pursuant to a Registration Rights Agreement to be entered into concurrently with the shareholders agreement, holders of 60 per cent of the Flipkart shares by the minority shareholders, acting together, may require Flipkart to effect an initial public offering following the fourth anniversary of closing of the transactions", Walmart Inc said in a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Flipkart's other co-founder Sachin Bansal had exited the company earlier this week, by selling his 5.5% stake for about $1 billion.

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Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of retail consultancy Third Eyesight, said the infusion in itself is a significant measure of confidence that Walmart has, "that Flipkart is something which needs to be supported not only in terms of integrating it into the Walmart business but also as an independent [business]", said Mr. Dutta.

Elaborating on the deal, Walmart Inc said the Flipkart board will initially have eight directors: five Walmart-appointed, two appointed by certain minority shareholders and one founder. Immediately after the closing of the Transactions, all Flipkart Preference Shares will convert into Ordinary Shares.

The investors who are retained together hold 37.7% in Flipkart. We reported in our May 12 edition that, both Walmart and SoftBank are set to decide on a time to execute the transaction at a predetermined price and time, so that SoftBank can avoid short-term capital gains tax on the sale of shares.

"Shareholders agreement would expire upon the consummation of the IPO, whether initiated by the board or the minority stockholders", it added. The right of first refusal for the Minority Shareholders will expire if Walmart owns 85% of the outstanding shares of Flipkart. If the drag along right is exercised, each Minority Shareholder must be entitled to sell all of its shares in the proposed transaction.

Meanwhile, sources with direct knowledge of the development said that Japan's SoftBank has not yet chose to sell its 20-22 per cent stake in Flipkart to Walmart.

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