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Snapdeal Calls Off Merger Talks With Flipkart, To Pursue Independent Path

The failure to forge a merger would be a setback to Softbank Group, the largest investor in Snapdeal, as it has been attempting to engineer an all-stock deal for months, as a tie-up would help it secure a sizable stake in Flipkart.
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Flipkart India's No. 1 e-commerce player
Flipkart India's No. 1 e-commerce player

Highlights

  1. Snapdeal says it will pursue independent path to continue its operations
  2. It was in talks for selling business to Flipkart in $900-950 million deal
  3. Snapdeal earlier agreed to sell FreeCharge to Axis Bank for Rs 385 crore
Gurgaon-based e-commerce firm Snapdeal today called off talks for a takeover by larger rival Flipkart, saying it will "pursue an independent path" to continue its operations. "Snapdeal has been exploring strategic options over the last several months. The company has now decided to pursue an independent path and is terminating all strategic discussions as a result," a Snapdeal spokesperson said in an emailed statement, without naming Flipkart.

The board of Jasper Infotech, which runs Snapdeal, had earlier in-principle agreed to Flipkart's revised buyout bid of up to $950 million and a deal was pending approval of smaller shareholders, sources said. Two early stage investors in Snapdeal, Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners, were also reluctant to back a deal with Flipkart, the sources added.

Jasper Infotech said it has a "new and compelling direction - Snapdeal 2.0" and has made significant progress towards the ability to execute this by achieving a gross profit this month. "In addition, with the sale of certain non-core assets, Snapdeal is expected to be financially self-sustainable," it added.

The latest developments come within days of Snapdeal agreeing to sell its digital payment platform, FreeCharge, to Axis Bank for Rs 385 crore.

One of the leading contenders in the Indian e-commerce space, Snapdeal has seen its fortunes falling amid strong competition from Amazon and Flipkart. Its largest investor, SoftBank had been proactively mediating the talks for the sale. Japanese conglomerate SoftBank said supporting entrepreneurs and their vision is at the heart of Masayoshi Son's (SoftBank chairman and CEO) and SoftBank's investment philosophy.

"...we respect the decision to pursue an independent strategy. We look forward to the results of the Snapdeal 2.0 strategy, and to remaining invested in the vibrant Indian e-commerce space," a SoftBank spokesperson said.

The deal, if it had gone through, would have marked the largest acquisition in the Indian e-commerce landscape. Compared to a peak valuation of about $6.5 billion in February 2016, the talks had valued Snapdeal at about $1 billion.

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