Flipkart signs term sheet for Snapdeal buyout
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Bangalore-based homegrown e-commerce company Flipkart has moved closer to sealing its merger with rival firm Snapdeal. It has signed a term-sheet and will conduct financial due diligence in the days to come, according to several media reports.

The term-sheet was signed over the weekend and Snapdeal, run by Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd, has been valued at $1 billion, The Economic Times reported, quoting people familiar with the matter.

Moneycontrol.com reported that Snapdeal’s major investor SoftBank has bought out early investor Kalaari Capital’s minority stake.

“We do not comment on ongoing negotiations,” a SoftBank spokesperson said in response to an email query from VCCircle, seeking confirmation. However, requests sent to Flipkart and Snapdeal did not elicit a response at the time of filing this report. The story will be updated as and when we receive their responses.

In August last year, VCCircle first reported that Snapdeal had initiated preliminary merger talks with Flipkart and Amazon.

SoftBank, which has pumped over $900 million into Snapdeal so far, has two seats on its board while Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners have one each.

Earlier this month, Vani Kola, founder and managing director of Kalaari Capital, had resigned from the e-tailer’s board.

Snapdeal’s other investors include SoftBank-backed Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturer Foxconn, eBay Inc., Indian media company Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd, and venture capital investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Iron Pillar, and Ratan Tata, former chairman of Tata Sons.

Last month, VCCircle had reported that Snapdeal has hired law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas to advise them on the merger transaction.

Snapdeal was valued at around of $6.5-7 billion in February 2016 when it last raised $200 million in funding. The company has raised $1.65 billion in total till now.

The e-commerce firm has also faced several allegations of payments delays and non-payment of dues from several of its online vendors. VCCircle reported earlier this month that Snapdeal’s seller disputes were a result of data discrepancies in the firm’s bookkeeping records and seller management function, which also involved data loss and technical bugs. Last week, a group of 2,000 sellers from the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) sought the Centre’s intervention to prevent Snapdeal’s imminent merger with Flipkart until it settled all pending dues. On Tuesday, A Delhi court directed Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal and other executives from the firm to respond to the allegations of cheating by August end.

In February, Snapdeal laid off 500-600 employees across the e-commerce marketplace and its subsidiaries, mobile wallet FreeCharge and logistics wing Vulcan Express.

According to Snapdeal’s standalone financials, the company’s employee expenses for the year through March 2016 more than doubled to Rs 911 crore from Rs 367 crore the year before.

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