May 23, 2018 / 2:46 AM / 7 months ago

SoftBank to sell Flipkart stake to Walmart, first known Vision Fund divestment

FILE PHOTO: A Common myna sits next to the logo of India's e-commerce firm Flipkart installed on the company's office in Bengaluru, India April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) said on Wednesday it is selling its roughly 20 percent stake in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart [IPO-FLPK.N] to Walmart Inc (WMT.N), the first public divestment by its Vision Fund.

Walmart said this month it will pay $16 billion for a stake of around 77 percent in Flipkart and there had been some uncertainty over whether the Japanese tech and investment giant would remain a shareholder.

SoftBank did not disclose terms of the sale but this month CEO Masayoshi Son said its investment in the Indian firm was worth around $4 billion. The Vision Fund invested invested $2.5 billion in Flipkart in August last year.

It also did not comment on its reasons for cashing out. The Flipkart exit comes far more quickly than SoftBank’s average investment duration of 13.5 years.

The Vision Fund has invested $30 billion in startups in the last year. Son, who, as of last May, has attracted $93 billion to his technology investment vehicle, said last week he is looking to start a new fund - potentially further upending the world of dealmaking.

Major investments by the fund include ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies, co-working space provider WeWork Cos and chip designer Arm Holdings.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Edwina Gibbs

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