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Walmart Finalizes with Flipkart, Files Patents for the Future

Walmart and Flipkart group have completed the deal for Walmart to become the largest shareholder in the Flipkart Group.

The deal gives Walmart a 77 percent stake in Flipkart. The remaining shares are spread between Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Tencent, Tiger Global and Microsoft Corp. Moving forward, Flipkart’s financials will be reported as part of Walmart’s International business segment.

"Walmart and Flipkart will achieve more together than each of us could accomplish separately to contribute to the economic growth of India, creating a strong local business powered by Walmart," said Judith McKenna, president, chief executive officer, Walmart International. "Our investment will benefit India by providing quality, affordable goods for customers while creating new skilled jobs and opportunities for suppliers. As a company, we are transforming globally to make life even easier for customers, and we are delighted to learn from, contribute to and work with Flipkart to grow in India, one of the fastest-growing and most attractive retail markets in the world."

The Flipkart investment strengthens Walmart’s position in India, where it's seeking to partner to create sustained economic growth across agriculture, food and retail. In the future, Walmart will look to supporting small businesses, supporting farmers and supply chain development and reducing food waste in the region.

Under the terms of the agreement, Flipkart's governing body will continue to oversee the company operations. Tencent Holdings Limited and Tiger Global Management will continue to be represented on Flipkart’s board and will be joined by new Walmart members.  

"We are poised and ready to deliver the full value of this partnership for India," says Binny Bansal, Flipkart’s co-founder and group chief executive officer. "By combining Walmart’s omnichannel retail expertise, supply-chain knowledge and financial strength with Flipkart’s talent, technology and local insights, we are confident that together we can drive the next wave of retail in India."

Walmart’s investment includes $2 billion of new equity funding to help accelerate the growth of the Flipkart business. Both companies will retain their unique brands and operating structures in India.

In the United States, Walmart has applied for two patents that together would allow customers to use VR equipment to browse and purchase Walmart inventory, according to Retail Dive.

The patents also cover fulfillment center robots who would retrieve purchases for shipping.

While Walmart filed for the patents in January, the documents, titled "Virtual Retail Showroom System," and "System and Methods for a Virtual Reality Showroom With Autonomous Storage and Retrieval," were made public this week.

The first patent filing covers a system that would include a "virtual reality headset including inertial sensors," which would be capable of detecting a physical object that has been rendered in 3-D, along with user gestures intended to interact with the object. The second mentions how a computing system could instruct an "autonomous robot device" to retrieve the item purchased.

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