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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Flipkart to buyback employee stock options worth Rs 600 crore

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Walmart-owned Flipkart will undertake a buyback employee stock options worth about Rs 600 crore, according to sources. Earlier in the day, Flipkart announced raising USD 3.6 billion (about Rs 26,805.6 crore) in funding from a clutch of investors that valued the e-commerce major at USD 37.6 billion (about Rs 2.79 lakh crore).

In an e-mail to employees, Flipkart Group Chief Executive Officer Kalyan Krishnamurthy lauded the critical role played by the staff in reaching this milestone.

“… it has always been our endeavour to provide our employees with an opportunity to liquidate their vested options regularly. This year, we are pleased to announce a buyback of 5 per cent of the past three years’ vested options. With this landmark event for us, I am happy to share that we are offering our employees an additional buyback of 5 per cent of all vested options as we stay committed to wealth creation for you,” he said.

While the e-mail did not provide additional details, sources said the employee stock options buyback would entail a spending of about Rs 600 crore, and employees will be able to liquidate up to 10 per cent of their vested shares depending on the individual’s holding pattern.

They added that about 6,000 people are expected to benefit from the buyback.

The company confirmed the development but did not disclose any details.

Employees are granted options based on their tenure, performance and contributions to the company.

In his e-mail, Krishnamurthy said the fund infusion received by Flipkart is “one of the most significant investments in the digital commerce ecosystem in India, reflecting the opportunity for digital commerce in India and the confidence of investors in our ability to address this potential”.

“As we continue to focus on meeting the needs of our customers, we will make several investments across people, technology, supply chain and infrastructure, and continue to strengthen and build on key categories and business opportunities,” he added.

Krishnamurthy emphasised that the company must sustain its commitment to its existing customers and introduce the value proposition of digital commerce to the next 200 million Indians, ensuring that it innovates to create value and experiences for them.

“Through our partnerships with ecosystem players, not only do we need to accelerate growth for them, but we must also direct our efforts to enable inclusive growth for lakhs small and medium businesses who have an opportunity to benefit from the potential of digital commerce in India,” he added.

Flipkart Group has raised USD 3.6 billion in funding led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Walmart, valuing the e-commerce giant at USD 37.6 billion.

The current funding round has also seen participation from sovereign funds DisruptAD, Qatar Investment Authority, Khazanah Nasional Berhad as well as marquee investors Tencent, Willoughby Capital, Antara Capital, Franklin Templeton and Tiger Global.

With this deal, SoftBank is re-entering Flipkart’s cap table. SoftBank had sold its approximately 20 per cent share when Walmart bought a 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for USD 16 billion in 2018.

Founded in 2007, the Flipkart Group includes Flipkart, fashion specialty site Myntra and Ekart (logistics and supply chain arm). The Group is also a majority shareholder in digital payments platform PhonePe.

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