In order to maintain a lead over its rivals, home-grown e-tailer Flipkart is planning to invest in more start-ups.
Flipkart is in talks with services firm UrbanClap, food-delivery app Swiggy and furniture retailer UrbanLadder, a person familiar with the development was quoted by the Mint.
Flipkart has over $4 billion in cash, which makes it most valuable internet firm in the country.
Last week, Entrackr had reported that Flipkart was in talks to buy a stake in Bookmyshow. The investment in BookMyShow will also usher Flipkart’s entry into entertainment offering and compete against likes of Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video in crowded online entertainment space in India.
However, the deal has not materialized yet. Meanwhile, Bookmyshow has partnered with Amazon Pay. Flipkart is also in talks with Kishore Biyani to pick up an 8-10 percent stake in Future Lifestyle Fashions.
Flipkart’s M&A approach marks a shift from its strategy of 2014-15, when it sought to build a venture capital-like portfolio by investing prolifically. In those two years, Flipkart invested in or bought more than a dozen companies, including fashion retailer Myntra, trucking marketplace Blackbuck and advertising tech start-up AdIquity. Many of these were financial investments rather than deals that would boost the company’s business.
According to sources, the e-tailer is seeking large, strategic deals that will directly help its business.
According to filings with the corporate affairs ministry in September, Flipkart increased its reserves for financing acquisitions and significant investments to roughly Rs8,000 crore (over $1.2 billion) from earlier levels of Rs3,000 crore.
However, Flipkart has not confirmed the reports. UrbanClap, UrbanLadder, and Swiggy have too not responded to the queries related to Flipkart investment.
This year, Flipkart has raised nearly $3 billion in fresh capital from SoftBank Group, Tencent Holdings, eBay Inc and Microsoft Corp. Till date, Flipkart has invested in over 20 companies. Among them, Flipkart’s largest acquisition was that of Myntra for more than $330 million in May 2014.
Flipkart is battling Amazon for supremacy in India’s $15 billion e-commerce market. The company’s share of festive season sales increased to 50 percent from 45 percent last year, capturing much of the market, as per industry estimates.
The e-tailer is also expanding into newer businesses. It is also planning to offer insurance and wealth management products.