Flipkart to buyback employee stock options worth Rs 600 Cr

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

On Monday, Flipkart announced raising $3.6 billion (about Rs 26,805.6 crore) in funding from a clutch of investors that valued the ecommerce major at $37.6 billion (about Rs 2.79 lakh crore).

In an email 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 percent 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 percent of all vested options as we stay committed to wealth creation for you," he said.

Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart

While the email 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 percent 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 email, 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 partnership with ecosystem players, not only do we need to accelerate growth, 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 $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 ecommerce giant at $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 approximately 20 percent share when Walmart bought a 77 percent stake in Flipkart for $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.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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