Tiger Global, SoftBank and Accel have reason to celebrate after Walmart bought their shares.
More than $7 billion in investments fueled Flipkart’s growth in India before a majority stake was flipped to Walmart for $16 billion on Wednesday.
Three investors in particular will see quick and big windfalls as part of the deal, even as some hold onto shares in the Walmart-guided e-commerce company. Walmart will own 77 percent of the company once the deal, which values the company at about $21 billion, closes.
Tiger Global: More than any other fund, the elite and low-profile New York investment vehicle Tiger Global bet aggressively on Flipkart. And it’s paid off.
The firm, which has specialized in venture capital investments in China and India, is selling about 75 percent of its shares in the deal, which will bring the fund about $3 billion, according to a person close to the firm. Tiger first backed Flipkart in 2009 with $9 million but repeatedly doubled down on the Indian company as it matured — Tiger, which has $11 billion in assets its venture capital funds, would go on to lead several later Flipkart financing deals.
Some rivals quietly saw those repeated Tiger investments as a mistake given Amazon’s desire to compete in South Asia. But led by Lee Fixel, one of the most well-connected and well-known U.S. investors in India, Tiger ended up investing about $1 billion into the company. Before it sold some shares to SoftBank in 2017, Tiger owned about one-third of the company, the person said.
Those investments are now validated. Tiger’s total stake, now at about 20 percent, is worth about $4 billion, including the $1 billion in shares it has kept. The sale is said to be one of Tiger’s three biggest exits, alongside Spotify and JD.com.
SoftBank Vision Fund: Even the CEO of the $100 billion fund, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, has appeared surprised at how quickly his massive tech fund made a killing. After investing about $2.5 billion into the Indian company last year, its stake is now worth about $4 billion, Son said at a press conference early Wednesday (in which he also inadvertently disclosed that the deal was done before the official announcement).
That quick return should help quiet critics who say that the Vision Fund cannot possibly return money on such a massive investing fund. The Vision Fund and a companion fund have already booked about $3 billion in unrealized income in the last year, SoftBank disclosed in its new earnings report, which doesn’t include its Flipkart sale.
Accel: Accel is keeping some of its shares in Flipkart, but the firm will notch one of its biggest exits after nearly a decade of sitting tight.
Now one of the most active U.S. venture capital firms in India, the firm’s investment into Flipkart was one of its first deals after setting up its India fund in 2008. Accel put $800,000 into the company in 2008, the first major check they would receive. After buying in at such a cheap price, the firm kept participating in later rounds to keep high its ownership stake in the now giant company.
The firm’s position in the company is now worth about $1.1 billion after investing around $160 million over several funds into the company, according to a person familiar with Accel’s returns.
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