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Walmart reportedly in talks to buy online retailer

Jet could be worth as much as $3 billion in a sale.


At a Jet warehouse in New Jersey.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET launched to plenty of fanfare and with a giant war chest just over a year ago. Now, there's already chatter that the online retailer is ready to sell itself.

The company, a rare new competitor for Amazon, is in talks to be bought up by Walmart, according to a report Wednesday from The Wall Street Journal. Jet could could be worth as much as $3 billion, the report said.

Representatives for both Walmart and Jet declined to comment.

For Walmart, the deal could help in bolstering its e-commerce business, which is still tiny compared with its revenue from brick-and-mortar stores. The big-box retailer has been trying to be much more aggressive in challenging Amazon, the leading e-commerce company worldwide, by growing inventory on its website, introducing an Amazon Prime-like shipping service and expanding its grocery pickup service.

An acquisition for Jet, though, would prove a disappointment after CEO Marc Lore raised more than $700 million to start the business and predicted big growth for the e-retailer, despite years of losses starting off. Jet has worked to undercut Amazon's prices by allowing customers to lower their costs by adding more items to orders and waiving free returns.

The last time Lore went up against Amazon, the top-dog online retailer started a price war with Quidsi, Lore's previous startup and the parent of Amazon eventually bought his business.