Grapevine: Tatas may buy into Walmart's India cash & carry; European investor may back Livspace

By Ankit Agarwal

  • 20 Dec 2019
Credit: Reuters

The Tata group is in talks to buy up to 49% stake in US retailer Walmart's wholesale cash-and-carry business in India, persons aware of the development told The Times of India.

A recent tribunal order reinstating Cyrus Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons could slow down the process, the persons added.

Bentonville-headquartered Walmart runs a B2B wholesale business in India under the ‘Best Price Modern Wholesale' brand. It operates 28 Best Price stores across the country and owns a majority stake in Bengaluru-headquartered Flipkart Group that runs online marketplaces Flipkart and Myntra.

Walmart had entered the cash and carry business in India in 2007 in a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises. Both ended the joint venture in 2013.  

Other than Walmart, other players in the domestic organised wholesale market include Metro AG, Reliance and new entrants such as Thailand-based Lots Wholesale Solutions.

Meanwhile, online home design firm Livspace is looking to raise $100 million (Rs 710 crore at current exchange rate) in a round led by Kharis Capital, a European investment management firm, and Singapore’s Venturi Partners, at a valuation of over $500 million, two people aware of the matter told Mint.

In September 2018, Livspace, operated by Home Interior Designs E-commerce Pvt. Ltd, raised $70 million in its Series C round of funding led by PE firm TPG Growth and investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Existing investors like TPG Growth, Swedish furniture firm Ikea and Ratan Tata’s UC-RNT Fund will also participate in the round, the report said.

Livspace plans to utilise the money to expand its footprint beyond metros in India, and to ramp up its operations in Singapore. It plans to launch its services in Chandigarh, Kanpur and Lucknow, the people added.

In another development, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is considering to list its commercial real estate assets through a real estate investment trust (REIT) to raise more than $1 billion (Rs 7,105 crore at current exchange rate), people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

It is considering to include up to 20 million square feet of real estate in the trust. The report said that the deliberations are at an early stage and Brookfield may still decide against pursuing the transaction.

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