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Walmart Says PhonePe and Flipkart IPOs Years Away

Walmart’s India-based eCommerce marketplace and payments company aren’t quite ready to go public.

“This is something we’re looking at over the next couple of years,” Walmart’s executive vice president for corporate affairs, Dan Bartlett, told Reuters last week in reference to the company’s marketplace Flipkart and payments platform PhonePe.

And while Flipkart has been around longer, Walmart could tackle an initial public offering (IPO) for PhonePe first, the executive added, speaking on the sidelines of the company’s shareholders meeting.

PhonePe, Bartlett said, is “one of the largest payment platforms” in India, pointing to the company’s connection to India’s instant money transfer system, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which lets users send money across multiple banks without disclosing account details.

“There’s a lot of processes that have to be put in place before we go public,” Bartlett said, in reference to PhonePe. “Obviously the question about the Indian exchange versus others” is “under consideration” for the future IPO, he added.

Last year, Walmart’s chief financial officer told an investor conference audience that the two companies could become $100 billion businesses.

Meanwhile, Google announced last month that it plans to invest in Flipkart, becoming a minority investor in the company.

“Google’s proposed investment and its cloud collaboration will help Flipkart expand its business and advance the modernization of its digital infrastructure to serve customers across the country,” Flipkart said in a news release.

The Flipkart marketplace includes upwards of 500 million registered users, 1.4 million sellers and 150 million products across 80 categories, the release said.

Walmart last year paid $1.4 billion for a larger stake in the Indian eCommerce platform, making that purchase from the investment management group Tiger Global. An investor letter at the time pegged Flipkart’s value at $35 billion.

Last week saw a report that PhonePe was increasing its dominance of UPI as another local payments firm, Paytm, continued to slip amid regulatory troubles.

Companies such Paytm and PhonePe are all competing for consumer attention in a country that has been on a “digital payments journey” for the last 15 years, as PYMNTS wrote late last year.

Research by PYMNTS Intelligence has shown that digital wallets are now the preferred payment method for more than half of retail purchases in India, with 8 out of 10 digital wallet users opting for UPI.

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