Japan-based SoftBank is working to orchestrate a merger between India’s top online marketplace Flipkart and number three e-commerce player Snapdeal, Reuters reported.
A deal between the two rivals reportedly could be finalised within a week.
Snapdeal in 2014 received an investment of $627 million from SoftBank, which went on to invest nearly $2 billion in the Indian e-commerce startup, making it one of the Japanese company’s largest investments in India.
In late March Snapdeal denied reports it was discussing a potential sale to domestic rivals Flipkart and Paytm. Snapdeal is facing increased competition. In 2016 it announced it would cut nearly half its workforce of 4,300 people after losing the number two spot to Amazon.
Flipkart announced in early March it was looking to raise up to $1 billion in its latest funding round, which could value the startup at $7 billion to $8 billion. Flipkart, established in 2007, was valued at about $11.5 billion in August 2016, down sharply from its $15 billion valuation earlier in the year as competition in what it one of the world’s most fiercely contested markets intensified and funding becomes more difficult to line up.
SoftBank is not focusing its investment on just one online player in India – it is widely tipped to be discussing a potential $1.5 billion investment in popular Indian mobile wallet app Paytm, which is backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
In addition, SoftBank is trying to broker a merger between grocery delivery firm Grofers, in which it invested about $70 million, and market leader BigBasket, Reuters reported.
Two years ago SoftBank took the lead in a $210 million investment in taxi-booking service Ola.