The Japanese group’s $93bn Vision Fund has invested $2.5bn in the Indian online retailer.
Editor’s Remarks: SoftBank invested in Flipkart’s struggling online rival Snapdeal in 2015 and had been trying to engineer a merger of the two businesses in recent months. But deal talks broke down last week, so SoftBank has now moved on and is investing in Flipkart directly. The Vision Fund will be buying a mixture of old and new shares in the Indian e-commerce group, and the deal will leave Flipkart with up to $4bn of cash on its balance sheet following an investment of $1.4bn from Microsoft, eBay and China’s Tencent back in April. The battle for India’s e-commerce market is set to get hot – Flipkart is the top online retailer in India, but Amazon India has commitments of around $5bn from its US parent to expand its market share there. There is a lot of market to go for – in 2016, only 1.7% of India’s total retail sales were online.