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Times Group buys small stake in Flipkart for Rs 260 crore

MUMBAI: Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL), the owner of media properties such as The Times of India and The Economic Times newspapers and Times Now and ET Now TV channels, has picked up a small stake in India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd.

Flipkart’s stake dilution to BCCL is for cash and advertising space in the latter’s media properties.

Flipkart-Logo01BCCL made a private placement offer of about Rs 260 crore to buy a warrant for Class B equity shares in Flipkart, Mint reported sourcing documents filed with the Registrar of Companies and from Tofler, a company research platform.

While BCCL invested Rs 26 crore in Flipkart in December, the rest of the amount will be paid when it converts the warrant into equity shares of Flipkart.

The nature of the Flipkart-BCCL transaction is commonly known as a private treaty deal. BCCL and some other media firms have used this route to build a large portfolio of holdings. Started in 2004 by BCCL, such deals now have to meet mandated disclosure norms.

BCCL has struck similar kind of deals with several start-up businesses. In February 2016, BCCL inked a similar deal with online marketplace Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd). Globally, it also has investments in a large number of start-ups such as Uber Technologies Inc., services provider Haptik and education start-up Coursera, Mint reported.

The private treaties are handled by BCCL’s Brand Capital unit.

BCCL also owns digital properties such as real estate listings site magicbricks.com and music start-up Gaana.