Flipkart
Flipkart's ex-CEO makes startling revelation. Pictured: Flipkart acquires mobile payments startup PhonePe. In Picture: The logo of India's largest online marketplace Flipkart is seen on a building in Bengaluru, India, Apr. 22, 2015.Reuters File

Domestic e-commerce giant Flipkart is reportedly in talks with investors to raise funds worth nearly $1.4 billion (Rs 9,200 crore) to strengthen its position in the fast-growing and highly competitive online retailing space.

The latest round of funding will be led by US-based Sands Capital Management with an investment of $700 million, said sources close to the development.

Existing investors are expected to invest a similar amount and the deal could value Flipkart between $15 billion and $18 billion, sources told The Economic Times.

The Bengaluru-based online retailer had confirmed its valuation at $15.2 billion (Rs 98,800 crore) in September last year. Overall, the company has raised $2.6 billion in the past two years.

Sands Capital is currently managing investments worth $47 billion with a focus on "concentrated growth" investments over the long term, according to its website. The firm has already made investments in grocery retailer Big-Basket and hyper-local logistics firm Opinio.

Binny Bansal, co-founder and chief operating officer of Flipkart, had said in October last year that the company aims to turn profitable in three years. Online retailers have come under severe criticism from industry watchers for burning cash on discounts and thereby incurring losses.

Flipkart's losses escalated to Rs.2,000 crore in the fiscal year ending March 2015, up nearly 180% as compared to Rs.715 crore in the previous year, according to the company's filing to Registrar of Companies.

"The issue is that their burn rate hasn't come down and remains at $50-60 million per month in steady state," said an investor.

Accel Partners, the first venture investor in Flipkart, had reportedly offloaded a minor part of its stake in India's biggest online retailer for $100 million (about Rs 650 crore) recently, in a bid to book profits amid expectations of stabilisation in the valuations of domestic e-commerce firms.

Indian internet companies have started witnessing "stagnation or decline" in their valuations as fund raising activity slowed from the "unprecedented" growth in the first half of 2015. The firms have also been under severe criticism for their expensive valuations.

Last month, former director of Infosys T V Mohandas Pai had said that the domestic e-commerce industry may witness a shake-up in the next two years and only the top 10-20% of the start-ups will emerge as big companies.

Also read