NEW DELHI—The famously frugal and focused Walmart Inc. is betting $15 billion on a much different kind of company: a sprawling Indian e-commerce startup that has burned through mountains of cash to try to conquer the country’s online shopping market.
The deal for a roughly 75% stake in Flipkart Group is set to be announced as early as this week. If the union works, it could provide India’s leading online seller needed funds and traditional retailing expertise, while Walmart would be well-positioned for e-commerce in the world’s second-most-populous nation.
Venture capitalists have long assumed India’s internet economy will soon take off like China’s, and they have pumped money into Flipkart. The Bangalore company has used the funding in part to offer deep discounts to shoppers, subsidize shipping and pay for infrastructure, analysts say.
That move came as Amazon.com Inc. challenged Flipkart’s position.
Last year, it raised $1.4 billion from Microsoft Corp., eBay Inc. and China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. in an investment that valued the firm at $11.6 billion, down from the $15 billion valuation it received during fundraising in 2015.