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Flipkart raises $1.4 billion from Microsoft, eBay and Tencent

Flipkart has raised $1.4 billion from Chinese investment holdings firm Tencent, global e-commerce player eBay and technology company Microsoft. Following this, the Flipkart Group is valued at $11.6 billion down significantly from the previous valuation of $15 billion.

With the investment by eBay, the global e-commerce company is selling its India unit, eBay.in to Flipkart in exchange for equity in the Flipkart Group. eBay.in continue to operate as an independent entity. As a result of the deal, Indian customers of will gain access to the global inventory on eBay, while eBay’s customers will have access to Indian inventory provided by Flipkart sellers.

Note that rival Snapdeal had earlier sold a minority stake to eBay for an undisclosed amount in 2013. And in August 2015, eBay sold a partial stake in Snapdeal to focus on its India operations.

The Economic Times’ Madhav Chanchani reports that eBay’s contribution to the funding round was $500 million.

Meanwhile, Tencent will join as a strategic investor and the Flipkart said that they will bring experience in linking social networking and e-commerce.  Other prominent investors in include Tiger Global Management, Naspers Group, Accel Partners and DST Global.

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This takes the funding in the Group to a total of $4.65 billion in over 13 rounds of funding. In its previous round in September 2015, it raised $700 million from a clutch of investors which include Steadview Capital.

The Flipkart Group includes the following brands:
– Flipkart (e-commerce)
– Myntra (online fashion)
– Jabong (online fashion)
– PhonePe (digital payments)
– eKart (supply chain & logistics)

In its India operations, it posted losses of Rs 5,223 during FY16, which is the highest comparing to the three e-commerce companies (Snapdeal and Amazon) that operate in the country, according to this Moneycontrol report.

Meanwhile, the company has seen some major rejigs on it executive level management with the appointment of Tiger Global’s Kalyan Krishnamuthy as new CEO, who replaced co-founder Binny Bansal.

Merger with Snapdeal

Meanwhile, The Economic Times reports that SoftBank is leading an effort to sell Snapdeal to Flipkart. Going by the shareholder agreements, three out of the four major stakeholders — SoftBank Group, early backers Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners, and promoters Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal — who control six of the seven seats on the company’s board, will need to approve the merger.

SoftBank will further add fresh funds into the company and buy shares from Tiger Global,  which is currently Flipkart’s largest shareholder.

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Businesses and initiatives shut down 

That said, Flipkart has been was been shutting down many of its businesses and initiatives.

– In February 2017, it suspended its consumer-facing courier service Ekart Courier nine months after launching it.
– In February 2016, it shut down its grocery delivery service ‘Nearby’ just five months after its launch in October 2015. However, CEO Kalyan Krishnamuthy stated in a conference yesterday that they would be entering the grocery delivery business again.
– It shut down its Ping chat feature starting June 2016, and shut its image search as well.
Flipkart Money was phased out in October 2016 and all cashbacks and refunds from Flipkart Money will now flow into PhonePe’s wallet.
– In December 2015, it exited its e-books business saying that the division was not a strategic fit for the company. It added that the ebooks purchased on the platform would be serviced by Canada’s Rakuten Kobo.

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