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Morgan Stanley MF slashes Flipkart’s valuation to $5.5bn

Morgan Stanley MF slashes Flipkart’s valuation to $5.5bn

A mutual fund managed by Morgan Stanley has sharply cut the value of its shares in India’s largest e-tailer for the fourth time over a period of a year, valuing the company at $5.5 billion.This is by far the most sizeable correction for Flipkart, which last raised a financing round in July 2015 when its paper valuation stood at $15.2 billion.The macro environment has since turned globally around technology startups, and mutual funds which had fuelled valuations have gone sour on private investments.

According to regulatory filings, Morgan Stanley, which holds around 1.5% stake through its various entities in Flipkart, reduced the value of its holding by 38%, pegging the company’s shares at $52.13 a piece as of September. Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund Trust holds 1,969 shares in Flipkart Online Services currently . It first invested in Flipkart in 2013, and its shares are collectively valued at $102,644. This en tity had valued Flipkart shares at $87.9 a piece as of March 2016, which was pared down to $84.29 by June 2016. In December last year, Flipkart’s shares were priced at $103.97 a pop by this particular mutual fund.

A Flipkart spokesperson said in an emailed response to TOI that a mutual fund markto-market is a purely theoretical exercise and is not based on any real transactions. “We are seeing strong traction in our business momentum and ope rating performance. We continue to be focused on innovating for the customer, growing the market and executing on our long-term growth agenda,” the statement said.

Other mutual fund investors, too, have been correcting Flipkart’s valuation this year with the likes of Valic, Fidelity and T Rowe Price readjusting the value of their shares in the company every few months.

This latest markdown comes at a time when the online retailer is fighting a fierce battle with the Jeff Bezos-led Amazon, which is ploughing billions of dollars into the local market to topple its homegrown rival. A series of markdowns through this year has affected the company’s fundraise plans at its current valuation. Talks with strategic players like Walmart and Alibaba haven’t yet yielded in an investment deal and these markdowns may impact deal-making going forward.

 

Source: Times of India

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