It has been a year since India witnessed the largest M&A deal in its history. Walmart Inc. on May 9 last year had announced it is buying 77 percent stake in Flipkart for about $16 billion at a valuation of $21 billion. On Thursday, Flipkart celebrated its one-year anniversary of being part of the global retail giant.
However, a lot has changed in one year. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, who started the company in 2007, have both exited the firm. Close on the heels of Binny’s exit, Ananth Narayanan, the top boss of Flipkart’s branded fashion platform Myntra Jabong, also exited the firm.
While Sachin left immediately after the deal went through, which some say was over issues around leadership and control, Binny’s untimely exit came later. In November last year, Binny announced his resignation as chief executive officer (CEO) of Flipkart Group, effective immediately, following an independent investigation into an allegation of “serious personal misconduct”, Walmart Inc. had said.
However, the senior management at Flipkart believes the company has come out a lot stronger after this transition.
“Flipkart’s partnership with Walmart is helping the group better serve Indian customers and accelerate its growth with products and solutions that solve real problems in the country. These include supply-chain infrastructure that is disrupting the industry to benefit local consumers, suppliers, and manufacturers,” said Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
Walmart’s India push
In the last few weeks, Walmart’s top bosses have made trips to Flipkart’s sprawling campus in Bengaluru, reiterating their confidence in the company as well as its management.
Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon was the first to visit Flipkart. He was impressed with the e-commerce major’s technological prowess while emphasizing the need of leveraging some of those for the Bentonville-based company’s global operations.
Close on his heels, Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International, came to India in a move to not only assess the progress made by their fashion business but also express Walmart’s confidence in the senior leadership at Flipkart and Myntra.
According to sources close to the firm, McKenna, accompanied by Richard Mayfield, chief financial officer of Walmart international and Leigh Hopkins, Walmart’s international strategy head, made it clear that Walmart has major plans and hopes for Flipkart and it would soon help the retail giant in its global plans. Just like McMillon, McKenna, too, reiterated her confidence in Krishnamurthy’s leadership.
The company plans to go for major expansion in the grocery space over the next few months. On the eve of its anniversary, the company opened its fifth online grocery store Supermart in Mumbai. According to sources, the company plans to expand to as many as 35 cities over the next few months. This is going to be its major play going for the e-commerce giant.
It has also carved a strategy to get to the next 200 million users, which includes adding local languages, voice-based shopping as well as having a hyperlocal play.
“There are a lot of learnings through best practices sharing, which is helping enhance customers’ experience as we travel the exciting path of bringing e-commerce experience to another 200 million customers,” said Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer.―Business Standard