Acquisitions will drive Flipkart growth: Binny Bansal
Flipkart will look at more buys but they will be heavily capability driven, says Binny Bansal
Mumbai: A day after Walmart made its biggest-ever purchase, Flipkart, in which the world’s biggest retailer will own 77%, disclosed that its future growth strategy would include aggressive acquisitions as it readies to battle its principal rival Amazon.
“We will look at a lot of acquisitions, but they will be heavily capability driven. It is not that we have allocated a budget for that (acquisitions),” Binny Bansal, co-founder and group CEO of Flipkart, told reporters at a press briefing in New Delhi.
Citing examples of previous acquisitions such as PhonePe, Bansal said Indian entrepreneurs were building a range of locally relevant technologies. “We have been looking at some of these companies. I can’t talk about specific companies right now. We are also really excited about getting capabilities and talent through acquisitions.”
Bansal believes that the acquisitions enabled by the Walmart-Flipkart deal would give a big push to the e-commerce market—estimated to grow from a share of 2-2.5% of the retail market to about 30% in 10 years—and thereby act like a force multiplier for the start-up ecosystem.
Undoubtedly the new entity has an enhanced war chest to fund such acquisitions. “I believe e-commerce and start-ups are the two big engines of growth for the economy in the next 10 years,” he added.
According to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who flanked Bansal at the press meet, the deal would generate additional jobs in the economy. “There is an opportunity to generate another 10 million jobs here,” he said.
The deal, however, came in for tough scrutiny from investors. Shortly after Walmart unveiled its $16-billion purchase of India’s most valuable Internet start-up on Wednesday, investors punished the stock and wiped out over $10 billion of Walmart’s market capitalization.
Investors were spooked by the deal value, Flipkart’s massive losses and the looming battle with Amazon that will require billions of dollars in fresh investments.
In a conference call with investors, Walmart’s top management defended the acquisition, saying that it was a long-term bet in a market that was too large to ignore.
“Walmart will be patient with Flipkart. I don’t think there will be any pressure on Flipkart to cut losses drastically—they will be given the necessary freedom to do what they do best,” said Harminder Sahni, founder of Wazir Advisors. “If the buyout works for them in the long run, this acquisition will look cheap. If it fails, then it will look like an expensive, overpriced bet.”
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