Top Flipkart investor Tiger Global slashes stake in Amazon
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

Hedge fund Tiger Global Management, the biggest investor in Flipkart, has slashed its stake in the Indian e-commerce firm’s US rival Inc by two-thirds.

Tiger Global cut its holdings in Amazon to about 1.04 million shares at the end of March this year from 3.19 million at the end of December 2015, according to filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The value of Tiger Global’s stake in Amazon dropped 71% to $619 million from $2.16 billion.

Tiger Global had earlier last year more than tripled its stake in Amazon, the world’s biggest e-tailer by market value.

Amazon’s Indian unit and Flipkart are locked in a fierce battle for leadership in the country’s fast-growing e-commerce market. Tiger Global’s stake reduction comes at a time when Amazon is catching up in India while Flipkart is facing growing concerns about its valuation. At least four investors in Flipkart have marked down the value of their holdings in Flipkart; American mutual funds Fidelity Rutland Square Trust II and Valic Co were the latest to do so.

Tiger Global also axed its stake in iPhone maker Apple Inc to 5.66 million shares worth $616.6 million at the end of March from 10.6 million shares valued at $1.1 billion three months before, the SEC filings show. Besides, it reduced its stake in Chinese e-commerce firms and Alibaba Group.

The hedge fund is one of the early backers of Flipkart, having invested for the first time more than six years ago. It has since participated in the Indian online retailer’s subsequent funding rounds. Tiger Global, along with Naspers, co-led Flipkart’s $1 billion funding round in 2014.

Tiger Global is one of the most prolific investors in Indian e-commerce firms, though it has slowed down a tad in recent months. The hedge fund also has exposure to another Flipkart rival, Shopclues, in which it led a $100 million funding round last year. It is also an investor in cab-hailing firm Ola and used-goods marketplace Quikr, among other Indian companies.

Amazon India and Flipkart compete with SoftBank-backed Snapdeal and Paytm, funded by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. Alibaba is also looking to establish a direct presence in India. The Economic Times reported earlier this year that Amazon was in talks to acquire Flipkart as recently as the last quarter of 2015 but the Indian company subsequently denied the report.

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