• PremjiInvest criticizes Flipkart-Snapdeal tie-up in letter
  • Problem is differential payments to co-founders, early backers

Flipkart Online Services Pvt.’s planned acquisition of rival Indian e-commerce provider Snapdeal has hit a snag that may put the deal in jeopardy, or at least substantially drive down Snapdeal’s valuation from a previously agreed-upon $1 billion.

One of the smaller investors in Snapdeal, the family office of billionaire Azim Premji, objects to special payments to certain shareholders including its two co-founders and two early backers, according to people familiar with the discussions. Flipkart had earlier told Snapdeal that it wants all the startup’s investors to agree to deal terms as a precondition of the transaction, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing information that’s not public.

The sticking point has been the differential payments, which are seen as an attempt to win over larger Snapdeal investors and the founders who have to agree to a vastly lowered valuation. Under the proposed terms, early investors, like Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners, would receive $60 million in addition to their new equity in Flipkart, while founders, Kunal…

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