India's e-commerce giant Flipkart seems relentless in its efforts to ride big on the online shopping wave and the potential it holds for the start-ups. In a major move forward, the e-retailer is in advanced talks to raise $600-800 million.
This will put the valuations of the company at $14-15 billion, sources told Live Mint.
However, the latest round of funding is totally led by investments by the existing stakeholders, including US-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management and Qatar Investment Authority, the sources said.
Co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal will turn billionaires with the new round of funding as they hold 7.5% stake each. The online retailer witnessed an exponential growth with its valuations spiralling to nearly $11.5 billion last year from $1 billion valuation in 2012. In 2014 alone, the company raised capital of around $2 billion.
"Currently, there's massive interest in Flipkart and in start-ups generally. Money is very easily available. But this isn't going to last long, so Flipkart wants to ensure that even if things turn sour, they have enough in the bank to last them a long time," sources added.
Flipkart, which plans to double the Gross Merchandise Value of products it sells to $8 billion this year, is expected to invest fresh funds in technology to scale up the business and market share.
According to a report by Morgan Stanley, Flipkart accounted for 44% of India's e-commerce market share, followed by Delhi-based rival Snapdeal at 32%. Amazon, launched in India in 2013, stood at third place with just 15% market share, the Business Standard reported.
Flipkart's presence in the online market strengthened after acquiring Myntra in a $300-million deal last May. As Myntra had a strong presence in the fashion segment, its acquisition boosted Flipkart's fashion offerings. Morgan Stanley's report estimated the share of fashion segment at 30% of India's e-commerce market.
"For Flipkart, the key differentiator has been Myntra as it was a perfect acquisition target. Myntra is horizontal in the fashion space and a value-driven business," said Mohit Bahl of KPMG India.
On the other hand, Flipkart's rival Snapdeal, which raised funds worth over $1 billion last year, is also in talks to raise capital. Snapdeal, which received $627 million from Japan's SoftBank Group in November, is estimated to make more acquisitions worth $1 billion this year.
Analysts say the Bengaluru-based Flipkart is the next big online business globally after China's Alibaba Group, which is valued at more than $210 billion. Flipkart is expected to go for public listing within the next 18 months.