As the world's largest retailer, Walmart, is inching closer to buying out India's Flipkart in a U.S. $12 billion deal, rival Amazon has jumped into the fray, making a formal offer to pick up a 60 percent stake in Flipkart, as per a CNBC TV18 report.
It is unfortunate that despite having an FDI policy, foreign companies are finding an escape route, whether it is in retail or e-commerce, Praveen Khandelwal, the national secretary-general of the CAIT, said.
Meanwhile, the Flipkart buy has received strong objection by traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). Bloomberg says that Flipkart's board feared that a merger between the authorities would have blocked a deal between the number one and two in India. "Walmart, after failing to enter India in retail sector through FDI, has chosen the e-commerce route, which will be quite harmful for the trading community", the industry body said in the letter.
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Meanwhile, experts fear that the Income Tax department could raise capital gains tax demand on Walmart, triggering a Vodafone-type tax dispute and hurting the valuation of the Flipkart deal for the United States retail chain.
Walmart aren't going it alone however, it appears that Google's parent company Alphabet is grabbing a stake of perhaps 10% in a $20 billon valuation.
A major round of investment past year valued Flipkart at about $11.6bn; Walmart's offer, if press reports are accurate, values the firm at about $20bn. Japan's Softbank, which owns a 20% stake in Flipkart, is looking for ways to offload its holding to Walmart without incurring a heavy tax bill. Sellers are Japan's Softbank and US-based Global Tiger, which are registered in the USA and Mauritius, respectively. The Americans will acquire about 75 % of Flipkart's shares in a 15 billion dollar deal. As per Section 9 (1) of the Income Tax Act if the value of the Indian assets is more than 50% of the global assets, the shares will be deemed as Indian shares and gains if any will be liable to tax in India. This delay is expected since it is considering to seal the deal without attracting a hefty tax liability, reported the publication quoting its sources familiar with the matter.