Indian regulator clears Walmart's US$16 bil acquisition of Flipkart

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NEW DELHI (Aug 8): India's antitrust regulator on Wednesday approved U.S. retail giant Walmart Inc's US$16 billion acquisition of Indian ecommerce firm Flipkart, beefing up the competition for rival Amazon.com Inc in the fast growing market.

Betonville, Arkansas-based Walmart announced in May it was acquiring about 77% of Flipkart for roughly US$16 billion, the biggest deal in India's ecommerce sector, which Morgan Stanley has estimated will grow close to an annual US$200 billion in a decade.

An Indian body of Traders Confederation of All India Traders had opposed the Walmart-Flipkart combination, saying it would create unfair competition and drive local convenience stores out of business.

The Competition Commission of India has approved the proposed acquisition of Flipkart Private Ltd by Wal-Mart, the antitrust body said in a message on twitter.

Walmart had previously said it may take Flipkart public in as early as four years.

The acquisition of Flipkart will give Walmart a stronger foothold in a market in which it has struggled to expand in the last decade, partly due to restrictions around foreign investment in physical retail.