Walmart is leading a group that will invest about $15 billion for a roughly 75% stake in Flipkart Group, India’s largest e-commerce company, according to people familiar with the matter. Google parent Alphabet Inc. is planning to invest in Flipkart as part of the deal, other people familiar with the situation said.
It would be a big bet by Walmart that India will be a source of growth at a time when Amazon is gaining ground in the country. It is also an effort by Google to keep Amazon from potentially acquiring Flipkart itself.
Flipkart, which was started by two former Amazon employees in 2007, has already raised billions from investors including SoftBank GroupCorp , Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY , and Microsoft Corp. It sells everything from sofas to shoes and smartphones.
Flipkart’s board has approved the transaction, which values the startup at $20 billion before the investment, one person said. Walmart would control the company if the deal is completed, the person said. Flipkart said it was valued at $11.6 billion in a funding round last April.
Bloomberg reported earlier Friday that the Flipkart board had approved an agreement to sell about 75% to a Walmart-led group for around $15 billion.