Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is looking at investing about $2 billion in home-grown e- commerce major, Flipkart, according to industry sources.
SoftBank, through SoftBank Vision Fund, is in discussions with Flipkart to invest between $1.5-2 billion, two people aware of the development said.
They did not wish to be named as the discussions are still going on.
This assumes significance as SoftBank-backed Snapdeal on Monday called off merger talks with Flipkart. While Snapdeal did not name the Bengaluru-based company, the merger negotiations were widely reported over the last five months.
It was also reported that SoftBank was looking at picking up equity in Flipkart.
With the talks between Snapdeal and Flipkart collapsing, Softbank could now still go ahead and invest in Flipkart, the sources added.
SoftBank, which has investments in Indian start-ups such as Snapdeal and cab aggregator Ola, had committed investments worth $10 billion in India in 2014. In May this year, SoftBank pumped in $1.4 billion (over Rs 9,079 crore) in Indian digital payments platform, Paytm.
When contacted, a SoftBank spokesperson said, “SoftBank Vision Fund independently evaluates each investment on its own merit.” Flipkart did not respond to e-mailed queries.
SoftBank Vision Fund, founded by SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son, operates as a separate entity. It also has participants like Apple, Foxconn and Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
According to a statement issued by SoftBank in May, the fund will target “meaningful, long-term” investments in companies that seek to enable the next age of innovation.
The fund, it said, would acquire minority and majority interests in both private and public companies, ranging from emerging technology businesses to established, multi-billion dollar companies that require substantial growth funding.
For Flipkart, the funding would provide it with more arsenal to compete with the US-based Amazon.
The two players have been locked in an intense battle for leadership in the Indian market and have been pumping in millions of dollars to strengthen infrastructure as well as bring more sellers and buyers online.
In April this year, Flipkart had raised $1.4 billion from Microsoft, eBay and Tencent at a valuation of $11.6 billion.
Amazon, on its part, has pumped in close to USD 600 million across various units in India since January this year.