Morgan Stanley pegs Flipkart below $10 bn

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Bangalore | Published: May 28, 2016 8:00:50 AM

Lowers value of holdings 16% in SEC filing

Morgan Stanley valued Flipkart shares at .86 apiece as on March 31, 2016, compared with 3.97 each in December 2015 and 2 per share in June 2015. (Reuters)Morgan Stanley valued Flipkart shares at .86 apiece as on March 31, 2016, compared with 3.97 each in December 2015 and 2 per share in June 2015. (Reuters)

In yet another markdown of its investment in Flipkart, Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund has lowered the value of its holdings in the e-retailer by nearly 16%, regulatory filings reveal. The latest downgrade pegs the firm’s valuation at $9.3 billion, which is well below the peak of $15 billion in June last year when the e-commerce player raised $700 million in a round of funding led by Tiger Global.

According to a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, Morgan Stanley valued Flipkart shares at $87.86 apiece as on March 31, 2016, compared with $103.97 each in December 2015 and $142 per share in June 2015.

Interestingly, the Tata Group threw open its e-commerce portal Tata Cliq on Friday, offering customers products across three categories: Apparel, electronic goods and footwear.

Gr5

The launch from the country’s top business house comes at a time the e-commerce space in the country is in consolidation mode. Promoters are taking a hard look at their models, attempting to rein in costs as losses mount and investors tighten their purse strings. Analysts estimate some 30-35 million customers are shopping online today.

However, several ventures are either scaling back or trying to identify new sources of revenue and some, especially in the food tech space, have shut operations.

“We believe this shake-up may intensify further, leading to the emergence of one or two strong companies within each sub-sector,” analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities wrote in a recent report. They believe the hyper-valuations seen in successive rounds of funding in 2014-15 is correcting.

In a competitive environment, Flipkart has abandoned its app-only strategy for both the main portal and online fashion arm Myntra, and has opened its logistics vertical Ekart to other e-commerce companies. The e-retailer has been losing ground in the app space; data from AppAnnie, an app analytics platform, showed Amazon is the only e-tailer present in the top 10-ranked apps. Flipkart has been in the news for deferring the induction date for IIM Ahmedabad graduates that it recruited. The premier management institute is understood to have indicated to the company this may hurt it during the next placement season.

Gr6

Data from Alexa show Amazon India continues to be a leading desktop website. According to internet analytics firm comScore, Amazon India saw over 26 million unique visitors on its website in March this year while Flipkart saw 21 million visitors on its portal and Snapdeal 12 million visitors.

In February, Morgan Stanley had marked down its holdings in Flipkart by 27%, effectively lowering the valuation to $11 billion. Thereafter, T Rowe Price reduced the value of the investment by 15% while Fidelity Rutland Square Trust II and Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (Valic) marked down the shares by about 32% and 17.5%, over levels in 2015.

Fidelity Rutland Square Trust II marked down the investment to $82 per share as of February 2016, down from $119.77 in February 2015. Similarly, Valic revised the value of the shares down to $98.19 in February from $119 apiece a year earlier.

The Indian e-commerce market is expected to cross $100 billion by 2020 from levels of $16 billion in 2015, according to report by Deloitte. “A 6X growth over 5 years is envisaged for e-commerce, driven by factors like new-age technology, convenience, higher adoption rates and larger reach,” the report said.

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