MUMBAI - Indian online marketplace Flipkart has bought back $350 million worth of shares from its investors as it seeks to convert its Singapore-incorporated company to a private limited firm, in a move that could ease the way in for a new strategic investor.
U.S. retail giant Walmart Inc <WMT.N> is in advanced talks with Flipkart to acquire a controlling stake of more than 51 percent in the Bengaluru-based e-commerce firm at a valuation of at least $18 billion, sources previously told Reuters.
Flipkart Ltd purchased shares for $350.5 million from some of its investors including Shekhar Kirani of Accel, SoftBank <9984.T> executive Deep Nishar's family trust, IDG Ventures and a host of pension funds, according to May 3 regulatory filings from Singapore's Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, sourced by business intelligence platform paper.vc.
It also began the process of converting Flipkart to a private limited company, changing its name to Flipkart Pte Ltd, the filings showed.
Stakeholders in a private limited company are usually bound by a contract and have more flexibility than in a public company.
"Typically strategic investors don't like to deal with multiple shareholders because it just becomes more cumbersome," a senior lawyer told Reuters. "So they very often ask companies to clean up the cap table or consolidate small shareholders."