Flipkart gets leaner with a $300 million Jabong write-off as CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy lists out the priorities for 2021
- As Walmart-owned Flipkart moves towards a possibly $10 billion initial public offering (IPO), it seems to be shedding flab with a nearly $300 million write off in Jabong.
- Flipkart India CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy described 2020 as the year when the company turned ‘financially prudent’, without adding any details.
- Judith McKenna, president and chief executive of Walmart International, said that even after Flipkart being shut for 53 days in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the e-commerce business closed the year stronger than it started.
- For Flipkart, in 2021, the focus will be on grocery and fashion bringing loyal customers through its subscription programme and investing in technology and infrastructure.
Digging inside Walmart's earnings has revealed a lot about what's happening at Flipkart. As the India-born e-commerce subsidiary moves towards a possibly $10 billion initial public offering (IPO), it seems to be shedding flab with a nearly $300 million write off in one of its units.
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As Walmart boss Doug Mcmillon wants to “step on the gas” in India, Flipkart chief executive officer (CEO) Kalyan Krishnamurthy has decided to focus on areas like grocery and fashion as well as investments in technology and infrastructure.
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Krishnamurthy described 2020 as the year when Flipkart turned ‘financially prudent’. While he didn’t add any details, inside Walmart’s earnings report, there were “business restructuring charges” including $293 million non-cash impairment for the Jabong.com trade name.
Business Insider reached out to Flipkart for more inputs but the spokesperson said that they have nothing more to add.
Jabong.com was a fashion e-commerce entity that Flipkart had acquired through Myntra in 2016 and eventually absorbed it.
A step towards IPO?
Such restructurings are common when a company is planning to go public. It makes the IPO more attractive.
Walmart is reportedly preparing Flipkart for a big market debut possibly in the US – a $10 billion initial public offering (IPO). The listing is expected to boost Flipkart’s valuation to $40 billion from the current $24.9 billion. While the company hasn’t given a timeline or details for the market offering, reports say that it could be in 2021 with Walmart divesting a 25% stake in the company.
Shedding past baggage is one thing, focussing on the future is another
Walmart is clearly very bullish on Flipkart. Both Walmart CEO Mcmillion and Judith McKenna, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Walmart International were all praises for the team in India during the earnings call. McKenna said that Flipkart has doubled its gross merchandising value (GMV) despite being shut for 53 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The e-commerce business closed the year stronger than it started,” she added.
GMV is the total value of merchandise sold on a platform.
When asked about the focus for 2021, Krishnamurthy lined up grocery, fashion, and onboarding loyal customers through their subscription programme. In fashion, Flipkart has already made some moves, but the attractive grocery segment is going to be a challenge.
Investments made by Flipkart in the apparel industry recently
|Company||Investment by Flipkart|
|USPL (Universal Sportsbiz Pvt Ltd)||Undisclosed|
|Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Limited||₹1,500 crore|
|Arvind Fashions||₹260 crore|
In grocery, Flipkart has betting big on itself through Flipkart SuperMart and an investment in Ninjacart. “We are going to partner with the roughly million kirana stores in our ecosystem,” he said.
Kirana is the Hindi word for mom-n-pop stores in India and is the latest buzzword in the race for online grocery retail where some of the richest and mightiest business houses in the country are making big investments.
JioMart, which is Reliance Retail’s e-commerce debut, owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, is targeting 30 million merchants and he is backed by Facebook and WhatsApp for this project.
The $100 billion Tata Group, one of India’s oldest and largest conglomerates, has reportedly closed a deal to acquire BigBasket, one of the early birds in India’s online grocery market.
Meanwhile, Flipkart is also betting big on adtech (Advertising technology). Krishnamurthy said that Flipkart’s advertising platform is currently one of the top five in India today.
Flipkart is strengthening its advertising and monetisation portfolio and has announced the launch of a custom built demand-side platform (DSP). It recently partnered with MediaMath to launch its demand-side platform.
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