- Tata Group is in negotiations with U.S. retailer Walmart and is expected to buy up to 49 percent stake in its cash-and-carry wholesale business in India.
The Tata Group is in negotiations with U.S. retailer Walmart and is expected to buy up to 49 percent stake in its cash-and-carry wholesale business in India, according to multiple sources.
If the deal goes through, Walmart, headquartered in Bentonville, which operates a B2B wholesale business in India under the name ‘ Best Price Modern Wholesale,’ will be able to leverage the resources of the Tata Group and grow the integrated wholesale market more rapidly. The Tata group is also likely to help drive its ambitions for retail expansion.
The transaction was expected to be confirmed by Judith McKenna, president, and CEO of Walmart International, who was in the capital earlier this month, along with other Walmart executives, but was unable to do so because the arrangement between the two companies was not finalized, a top Walmart executive, who did not want to be quoted, told TOI. The recent National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order to reinstate Cyrus Mistry as Tata Sons Chair could further slow down the process due to the group’s prevailing uncertainty, sources said.
“The partnership would raise funds for Walmart India and enable the Tata Group to go into the domestic cash-and-carry market,” said a person familiar with the development.
Walmart currently operates 28 Best Price stores across the country and has a majority stake in the Flipkart Group headquartered in Bengaluru, which runs Flipkart and Myntra online marketplaces. Leaks earlier this year revealed that the Tata group had been negotiating an agreement with Walmart, including the possibility of a joint venture.
Other than Walmart, Metro AG, Reliance and new entrants, such as Thailand-based Lots Wholesale Solutions, currently, dominate the domestic organized wholesale market.
In the wholesale cash-and-carry market, where players sell not directly to consumers but to companies, including Kirana stores, offices, and hotels, the government allows 100 percent FDI. In 2007, in a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises, Walmart joined the cash and carry market in India. The joint venture was called off by both firms in 2013.
Recently, National Company Law Appellate Court (NCLAT) reinstated former Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry as Tata Group’s executive director. It said that N. Chandrashekharan’s appointment was also held by the court. This decision will surely slow down the process given the prevailing uncertainty within the group.