Amazon trying to keep Flipkart out of Walmart's hands with counteroffer

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Amazon is reportedly trying to acquire Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart, in part to gain control over that country's e-commerce market and in part to make sure Walmart doesn't get hold of the company.

Amazon is countering Walmart's $12 billion offer with a similar bid, reports CNBC and other media outlets. Walmart is close to a deal to buy about 60% of Flipkart, roughly the same as Amazon's offer. Amazon also reportedly wants a non-compete agreement from Flipkart's founders.

If either company wins over Flipkart, it would gain access to a substantial share of the Indian e-commerce market. Flipkart already controls more than half of the market, and has been aggressively investing the $4 billion in capital it's received to put more distance between itself and Amazon. Japan's Softbank has been a particular investor in Flipkart, pouring more than $2 billion into the company.

Amazon is among a large group of firms interested in building a market in India, where e-commerce and other digital transactions are growing quickly following the government's demonetization two years ago.

Walmart has offered mobile payments in India for years via MPesa, though adding Flipkart would provide the same market dominance as Amazon would enjoy if it won the bidding war.

In Walmart's home market in the U.S., it acquired two years ago for $3.3 billion to counter Amazon's huge e-commerce advantage in the States. It has since launched myriad delivery and online ordering services to battle Amazon.

Amazon has encroached on Walmart's turf by acquiring Whole Foods and experimenting with in-store technology such as its Amazon Go no-cashier store.

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