South African technology conglomerate Naspers has invested an additional $71 million (about Rs 458 crore) in Flipkart, taking its stake in the Indian e-commerce major to 16%.
According to Naspers’ consolidated financial statements, it made this investment in April by buying the stake from existing investors. It didn’t disclose the name of the sellers.
Prior to this transaction, Naspers held a 15% stake in Flipkart. In fact, Naspers had previously held a 16% stake. Its stake got diluted in 2015 when it did not participate in a funding round for Flipkart.
Naspers’ purchase of the additional stake is likely to have happened before Flipkart said in April that it had raised $1.4 billion from Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, US online retailer eBay and software giant Microsoft Corp at a valuation of $11.6 billion. Tencent is also a Naspers portfolio firm.
Email queries to Flipkart and Naspers didn’t elicit any response till the filing of this article.
Naspers also said that Flipkart was still the market leader in the Indian e-commerce sector, though rival Amazon had gained market share during the early part of the year.
“The group’s Indian etail associate, Flipkart, remains a large opportunity, with market estimates expecting the online retail market in India to reach $50 billion by 2020,” Naspers said.
The South African company is upbeat about the e-commerce segment, which accounted for nearly 27% of its $14.6 billion revenue and registered an 11% rise, the annual report revealed.
“The group now has 21 profitable businesses in e-commerce, excluding those disposed of during the year, delivering $699 million in revenue and $229 million in trading profits,” it said.
Naspers has been quite active in India with investments and consolidation moves.
Last month, it invested $132 million in Nasdaq-listed
online travel services provider MakeMyTrip Ltd. After the merger of MakeMyTrip and Ibibo, the biggest in the Indian online travel services sector, Naspers holds a 40% stake in the combined entity.
Also in May, it led a $80 million Series E round in Bangalore-based online food ordering startup Swiggy.com. According to its annual filings, Naspers invested about $60 million for a 14.8% stake.
Last year, Naspers-owned PayU bought Mumbai-based rival Citrus Pay for $130 million (Rs 865 crore) in one of the largest takeover deals in India’s nascent but rapidly growing fintech sector. According to the annual report, the deal value was $112 million and the remaining $18 million was due to an employment-linked prepayment, recognised as a transaction separate from the business combination.
“The acquisition of Citrus Pay in India consolidated PayU’s position and will allow it to build a franchise in e-commerce while growing vertical market positions in the airline and telecommunications industries,” Naspers said in the annual report.