Flipkart Internet Private Limited has raised USD 37 million from India’s largest media conglomerate Bennett Coleman and Company Limited that publishes flagship newspapers such as The Times of India and The Economic Times. Bennett Coleman is also known as The Times Group.
According to the documents filed by Flipkart with Registrar of Companies (RoC), the e-commerce giant attracted the investment from The Times Group in August this year, three months after the US-based retail major Walmart acquired 77% of its share for USD 16 billion.
Telephone calls to Flipkart and Walmart India spokespersons did not elicit any response. “We are not aware of this development. I would not like to comment on it,” a Walmart India spokesperson said. Flipkart did not respond to the email The Passage team sent seeking a clarification on this.
The RoC data shows Flipkart received its Series J funding in two tranches. It sold 123,328 equity shares to The Times Group in August this year at Rs.21,082 a share.
After the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the Flipkart-Walmart deal last month, the offline sellers’ body CAIT is seeking a stay on the order by filing a case in a higher court. In September the traders’ body plans to launch a nationwide strike to protest the deal.
“If the government does not disallow the deal, the traders will challenge it in High Court as well as Supreme Court and will keep opposing the deal until there is justice,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, CAIT.
Flipkart recently launched 2Gud, a separate e-commerce platform to sell refurbished electronic products.
The e-commerce sector in India is largely dominated by the Walmart-owned Flipkart, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon India and Alibaba-backed Paytm.
Flipkart’s biggest competitor in India, Amazon infused USD 2 billion in its India business in June this year. According to Citi Research, Amazon’s India market is worth USD 16 billion. Paytm, that runs its e-commerce vertical Paytm Mall on the lines of Alibaba’s Tmall, recently raised an undisclosed sum of money from Warren Buffet’s investment firm Berkshire Hathaway.