Snapdeal board meets to renegotiate with Flipkart

On Tuesday, the Snapdeal board had turned down a takeover bid of $700-750 million from its larger rival

Based in Delhi, I track developments both in corporate and economy sectors. In a career spanning since 2003, I track developments pertaining to M&A, PE/VC, startups and healthcare. Prior to joining Forbes, I have had stints with The Economic Times, Businessworld, India Today and Indian Express. I am also a guest faculty at The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (Dhenkenal) where I deliver part-time lectures to young aspiring journalists and teach them the practical side of reporting and editing. And when not working, I love to travel and spend time with my fawn Labrador.

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Image: Adnan Abidi/ Reuters

It appears that the last word has not been said on Snapdeal's acquisition by Flipkart.

A day after the Snapdeal board turned down a takeover bid of $700-750 million from its larger rival on Tuesday, a fresh meeting took place Wednesday evening where all board members were present to renegotiate the transaction.
 
The board at Snapdeal comprises members from SoftBank, Nexus Venture Partners, apart from co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal and telecom veteran and Bharti Enterprises vice-chairman Akhil Gupta (who is an independent director on the board). Earlier in May, Kalaari Capital managing director Vani Kola resigned from the Snapdeal board.
 
 
“Attempts are being made to revive the deal,” said a source privy to the development. But the Snapdeal spokesperson declined to comment on the development. 

Negotiations have been rife for a while since SoftBank, the largest investor in Snapdeal, has been leading the talks for the proposed sale of the ecommerce firm and is negotiating to make a separate investment in Flipkart through the proposed transaction. If the deal goes through, it will mark the biggest transaction in the burgeoning e-commerce sector in India.

What went wrong?
It was not long ago when Snapdeal was riding a valuation $6.5 billion. But it lost out on the race to home grown ecommerce giant Flipkart and foreign rival Amazon as it failed to acquire an identity for itself.

And it’s not Snapdeal alone. A slew of ecommerce ventures are staring at uncertainty after scaling at a rapid pace over the last five years. Concentrating only on discounts, most ecommerce players in the country today don’t have a strong business model in place backed by calculated unit economics and thus, with every order they are losing money. This perhaps explains their constant chase for capital which is a prerequisite for their survival.

Both Bahl and Bansal had earlier written a letter to their employees stating the problem. “At Snapdeal, we find ourselves at an important point in our journey - we know where we want to go and now is the time to make the choices of how we will get there....Has our company and industry been going through a troubled time? Absolutely. Did we make errors in our execution? No doubt about that......Over the last 2-3 years, with all the capital coming into this market, our entire industry, including ourselves, started making mistakes,” they said adding, they started growing their business much before the right economic model and market fit was figured out.

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