Screen snip of Flipkart.
TOKYO - U.S. retail giant Walmart Inc is acquiring Indian e-commerce player Flipkart, the chief executive of one of Flipkart’s biggest shareholders, SoftBank Group, said on Wednesday.

Walmart would invest $10 billion-$12 billion in Flipkart for a controlling stake of more than 51 percent at a valuation of about $20 billion in what is the U.S. retailer’s biggest acquisition of a business, Reuters has reported earlier.

“Last night, Japan time, it (Flipkart) reached final agreement that Walmart is purchasing Flipkart,” Masayoshi Son said on a SoftBank earnings conference call, ahead of an expected announcement by Walmart-Flipkart later on Wednesday.

Buying a stake in Flipkart, which sells everything from soaps to smartphones and from books to clothes, gives Walmart access to the vast Indian e-commerce market that, according to Morgan Stanley, will potentially be worth an annual $200 billion in a decade.

Last week, Indian media reported Amazon.com Inc, Flipkart’s biggest rival in India, had made a formal offer to buy 60 percent of Flipkart and that it had also proposed a $2 billion breakup fee to convince Flipkart to discuss its offer.

Sources told Reuters that Amazon had shown an interest in buying Flipkart, but said a deal with Walmart was much more likely to go through.

SoftBank’s investment in the Bengaluru-based online retailer had grown to $4 billion, Son said. SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the world’s biggest private equity fund, had invested $2.5 billion in Flipkart last August.

Sources have previously told Reuters that SoftBank would sell all its shares in Flipkart to Walmart. 

-REUTERS