Alibaba, Foxconn Are Discussing Potential Investment in Snapdeal

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba (BABA) and Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn are in talks to invest in the Indian e-commerce startup Snapdeal, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Alibaba and Foxconn would potentially invest a combined $500 million, valuing Snapdeal at about $5 billion. However, the deal could take months or years to happen, if it happens at all.

Alibaba declined to comment for this story. Foxconn and Snapdeal could not be immediately reached.

Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Alibaba was looking to invest about $500-$700 million in Snapdeal, but those talks fell through when the two companies couldn't agree on an appropriate valuation. Alibaba reportedly valued Snapdeal at around $4-$5 billion, while Snapdeal sought a valuation between $6 and $7 billion.

On top of the valuation back and forth, another obstacle could be getting regulatory approval in India.

If it does go through, an investment in Snapdeal could provide an entryway for both Alibaba and Foxconn into Indian e-commerce; Alibaba could expand its audience to Indian consumers, and Foxconn could more easily sell its electronics in the country.

Alibaba has previously showed its interest in the country when its financial affiliate Ant Financial took a 25% stake in the India-based payment services company One97 Communication, which operates Paytm, India's alternative to PayPal (EBAY).

Alibaba has been on a heavy investment run, taking a stake in messaging app Snapchat, U.S.-based e-commerce company Zulily (ZU), mobile search provider Quixey, and ride-sharing startup Lyft.

And it doesn't seem that these investments will be slowing down anytime soon.

"During J.P. Morgan's China Summit, Alibaba management reiterated that Alibaba will continue to invest aggressively to capture new growth opportunities in areas such as cloud, mobile internet services, digital entertainment, local services, online healthcare, mobile operating system etc," J.P. Morgan analyst Alex Yao wrote in a research note Tuesday morning. "We view the investments as proactive and discretionary, and could help expand the addressable market beyond Alibaba's core e-commerce business."

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