US retail behemoth Walmart is expected to announce Wednesday that it is to buy a majority stake in India’s largest e-commerce company Flipkart for around $15 billion.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon arrived in Bangalore, the Flipkart headquarters, to announce the deal which media reports said would see the American firm acquire around 70 percent of the Indian e-tailer.
Analysts say it would be the world’s biggest-ever e-commerce acquisition and pit Walmart head-to-head against rival Amazon in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.
The deal — which is expected to value Flipkart at around $20 billion — would deliver a blow to Amazon, which has been expanding aggressively since it entered the Indian market in 2013.
Last week, Flipkart’s board agreed to sell up to 75 percent of the company to a Walmart-led group, according to multiple media reports.
Google’s parent company Alphabet is also expected to purchase a small stake, possibly around 10 percent, reports said, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
There has been months of speculation that Walmart was preparing to buy Flipkart but both have repeatedly declined to comment on the talks.
Flipkart is India’s largest e-commerce group on the basis of sales but has been fighting off a huge challenge from Amazon.