Update: Naspers has confirmed the funding, however, it has refused to divulge details about the amount that it has invested in Flipkart, citing confidential contractual terms. In response to our query on whether there would be a conflict of interest, a Naspers spokesperson said, “Acquiring a stake in Flipkart, a leader in its space, gives us exposure to a different segment of the e-commerce market in India. Ibibio will continue to operate as a separate business, focusing on online marketplace services, building out its travel offering, providing online payments services as well as online games and communication services.”
Flipkart has also confirmed the funding and has said that it intends to utilize the funding to expand supply chain capacities, to launch new categories and in growing its talent pool. A new investor, ICONIQ Capital, also participated in the funding round.
Earlier: E-commerce major Flipkart is said to have raised $150 million in a fresh round of funding, lead by Naspers and existing investor, Tiger Global, according to a report by IndiaDigitalReview. The site has cited several sources to confirm the funding, however, Flipkart, Tiger Global and Naspers have not confirmed the funding. Karthik Srinivasan, AVP, Corporate Communications, Flipkart refused to confirm or deny the news of the funding, when contacted by MediaNama.
The report indicates that South African media conglomerate, Naspers, lead the funding round, investing $100 million, while the rest came from Tiger Global. It’s interesting to see Naspers investing in an e-commerce venture which competes with another company, Tradus, operated by its own investee company, MIH India (Ibibo). In fact, Tradus is a brand owned by Naspers, the parent company of MIH, and was acquired by Naspers in 2008, at a valuation of around GBP 946 million. Won’t there be a conflict of interest?
However, Tradus operates on a marketplace model, allowing different sellers to retail products online, unlike Flipkart which is a main stream e-commerce store, managing its own inventory, logistics and shipping.
Naspers’ investment in MIH India: Naspers had invested ZAR 92 million (around $12.8 million or Rs 59.2 crore approx) in MIH India (Ibibo) during the 2010-11 financial year (FY11), ZAR 76 million (around $10.6 million approx) in 2009-10 the financial year (FY10), and ZAR 98 million in the 2008-09 fiscal.
Naspers also owns 30% in Mobile VAS company ACL Wireless, 36.1% in mobile advertising and content company Buzz City, and 43.6% in Mobile Instant Messenger and Internet Telephony service Nimbuzz, as well as a majority 71.5% (fully diluted) stake in classifieds business OLX.
Previous Flipkart Fundings: Flipkart had previously raised $20 million in a round of funding in June 2011, from existing investor Tiger Global, bringing the total amount raised by Flipkart to $31 million. In 2010, it had raised $10 million from Tiger Global, and had expanded its product portfolio to offer movies, music, games, mobile handsets and electronics, in addition to books, which it had started out with.