All the major investors in Flipkart Online Services - which include JSE-listed Naspers - were now on board with the Walmart purchase, after an earlier debate over whether to sell to Amazon.com, said the people, asking not to be named because the matter is private.
The likely deal for 60%-80% of the Indian e-commerce giant, which is likely to top $12B, may be completed in the next two weeks.
And the key issue post the stake sale will be 'what happens to Flipkart's founders.' "The amount each existing investor sells and the size of Walmart's final stake still need to be finalised". The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company is the world's largest retailer, but it has struggled against Amazon as consumers migrate to online commerce.
India is the next big potential prize after the United States and China, where foreign retailers have made little progress against Alibaba. "India may not be a big deal now, but it's the future opportunity that Walmart and Amazon are eyeing".
Walmart declined to comment.
Furthermore, it's also reported that Flipkart's board met very recently to discuss the proposals made by Amazon and Walmart and they're now in a mindset that the Walmart deal could be closed more easily. The U.S. retailer has been courting the Indian company since at least past year.
Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal are also said to have favoured Walmart.
Amazon has already been aggressively expanding in India on its own. But Flipkart's primary rival is Amazon India itself, and it's hard to imagine Amazon buying stake in Flipkart.
A $20bn price tag would be substantially higher than Flipkart's valuation of about $12bn past year.
SoftBank stands to make a tidy profit on a deal it cut previous year. That stake could be worth more than $4 billion at the Walmart deal's valuation. That rush online has led some analysts to predict big gains for online retail, with Morgan Stanley forecasting that 30 percent annual growth in GMV will take India's e-commerce market to $200 billion by 2026.