ASUS & Flipkart Partner Up To Bring Zenfone Max Pro To India

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Key shareholders of Indian e-commerce player Flipkart have agreed to sell their stake to United States retail giant Walmart, a media report quoted people aware of the development as saying.

Citing sources aware of the developments, The Economic Times said that the U.S. retail behemoth has reached an agreement on buying the stakes of New York-based investment firm Tiger Global Management, South African media conglomerate Naspers, venture capital firm Accel and China's Tencent Holdings.

Moreover, Flipkart founders, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal may sell part of their shares in the company.

SoftBank, which holds 20% stake in Flipkart, wants a price of around $15 billion-$17 billion through a secondary sale of shares.

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Besides, the usage of eBay's brand name by Walmart can also be an issue, because eBay had made it clear that if Flipkart gets acquired, the new buyer won't be able to use their brand name.

The offer of $10-12 Bn valuation by Walmart has received cold shoulder from SoftBank, the sources added. People familiar with the development are quoted as saying, "Discussions with SoftBank are still ongoing..."

Also, beyond buying shares from existing investors, Walmart is also expected to infuse fresh funds in Flipkart, which may end up expanding the deal size to $10-12 Bn, from now reported $7 Bn. FactorDaily reported last week that Amazon offered a "breakup fee" of $1 billion-$2 billion, which shows its seriousness to buy the ecommerce major. Both Walmart and Flipkart stand to gain much if this long-speculated deal goes through. Whether or not ASUS will sell its smartphones on other e-commerce platforms hasn't been confirmed or denied yet.

Asus and Flipkart had earlier partnered in 2014 for selling the first-generation ZenFone. It has reportedly tried to enter India for years but has remained confined to a "cash-and-carry" wholesale business - it now operates 21 such stores - amid tough restrictions on foreign investment. However, Japan's SoftBank Group, which owns roughly one-fifth of Flipkart via its Vision Fund, is reportedly holding out for a better price.