Most secondary sales won't look like Tiger's Flipkart deal

A few months ago, it looked like all the pieces had fallen into place for a hot secondaries summer: Buyers were coming back to market, some companies and sellers were getting desperate, and the bid-ask spread — the difference of what buyers are willing to pay and the price sellers are setting — was tightening.

Tiger Global’s recent secondary deal, in which it sold its stake in Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart to Walmart for $1.4 billion, shows that the market has started moving. But this transaction shouldn’t be taken as a bellwether of what’s ahead for venture’s secondary market this year.

To recap, Walmart is already a majority shareholder in Flipkart, and this new deal valued the online marketplace at $35 billion, a minor 7% valuation haircut from its last publicly announced valuation of $37.6 billion.

Tiger Global had invested a total of $1.2 billion in Flipkart over multiple funding rounds since 2010, according to TechCrunch reporting. It sold off a bunch of its shares over time to net a collective $3.5 billion return, which is not a bad payout by any standards.

Tiger Global declined to comment. A Walmart spokesperson said, “We value Tiger Global’s involvement and support over the last several years. We remain confident in the future of Flipkart and are even more positive about the opportunity in India today than when we first invested.”

Sure, one could argue — rightly so — that this deal is a little outside the venture market, considering Flipkart has been majorly owned by Walmart since 2018. But, Tiger Global has been shopping around a lot of its venture stakes, too — which could include companies like Brex, Chime and Databricks — and I think it’s good to mull over why the investment firm likely won’t get a similar deal for its venture stakes.

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