India: Flipkart in talks to sell small stake to Times group

India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart Ltd is in talks to sell an undisclosed stake to media company Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL) in a Rs.500 crore deal that will be funded partly by cash and partly by ads, four people familiar with the matter said.

Since the deal isn’t closed, none of the four wanted to be identified.

Under the proposed deal, Flipkart will issue shares to BCCL in return for cash and ads over several years in its media properties such as The Times of India and The Economic Times newspapers and ET Now and Times Now channels, the people cited above said.

One of the four added that “the talks are progressing slower than what both companies want but a deal is likely to happen”.

Flipkart and Sivakumar Sundaram, chief executive officer of Brand Capital at TOI, didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

Theoretically, at Flipkart’s presumed $15 billion valuation, a Rs.500 crore deal would translate into a 0.5% stake.

The proposed Flipkart-BCCL deal is a so-called private treaty deal. First introduced by BCCL in 2004 to build a large portfolio of holdings, such deals were once controversial, especially because they also involved positive coverage.

Since then, however, such deals have become commonplace, transparent, and have to meet mandated disclosure norms.

At BCCL, private treaties are now handled by the company’s Brand Capital unit. HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint andHindustan Times, has launched its own version of such deals.

If the Flipkart deal goes through, it will boost BCCL’s already strong connections with India’s booming start-up business.

BCCL struck a similar deal with online marketplace Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd) in February. It also has investments in a large number of start-ups such as cab-hailing service Uber, services provider Haptik and education start-up Coursera. BCCL also owns real estate listings site magicbricks.com and digital music start-up Gaana.

All told, BCCL owns or has investments in a few dozen start-ups and digital properties, many of which are held through its Internet arm, Times Internet Ltd.

Also read:

Mutual fund T Rowe Price cuts its Flipkart stake value by 15%

Morgan Stanley fund marks down Flipkart stake value by 27%

India: Flipkart denies media report of Accel selling $100m stake

This story was first published on livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.