In Flipcart Deal A Moot Question If Soft Bank Too Sold Out Or Still In Process

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New Delhi:Just after the 24 hours since the acquisition of Flipcart by Walmart was announced questions have emerged over whether SoftBank has indeed sold out, or if it's still in the process of making up its mind. However, when WalmartInc announced the acquisition of a 77% stake in Flipkart, there wasn't the slightest question mark over the exit of SoftBank - the biggest shareholder with 22.3% - from India's most valuable start-up.

If the Japanese conglomerate is sitting on the fence, then the big question is: Is Walmart's stake in Flipkart 77% -- as announced to the world -- or 55%, still a comfortable majority, but not a three-fourths majority.

Neither Walmart nor Softbank was available for an official response to TOI's queries. A person close to the development said SoftBank would take a final call in the next 7-10 days. The person said that while Softbank supported the American retail giant's acquisition of a controlling stake, the deal had "come together quickly" and the Masayoshi Son-led investor was still in discussions with Walmart to "determine its role in Flipkart going forward".

SoftBank’s Vision Fund had taken a 22% stake in Flipkart in August 2017. Though SoftBank's founder and CEO Son had inadvertently announced - even before the deal was officially unveiled by Walmart and Flipkart - that the fund had exited the Indian company, sources told TOI that within Softbank itself there was a last-minute debate over whether to put its sale on hold. The fund’s $2.5 billion investment in Flipkart would fetch $4 billion if fully sold - representing an annualised return of 75%.

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