In a major setback to Future Retail Limited, Delhi High Court has refused to restrict e-retail giant Amazon from interfering in the deal between Kishore Biyani owned Future Retail and Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Retail by writing to the statutory authorities.
The order is passed by single judge bench Justice Mukta Gupta while hearing a suit filed by Future Retail Limited seeking an interim injunction against Amazon after an emergency arbitrator of Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) restrained Future Retail from any further transaction with Reliance Retail.
The single-judge bench refused to restrain Amazon from interfering in the deal by writing to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Competition Commission of India (CCI).
Delhi High Court held that statutory authorities are free to form their own opinion. Prima facie, the bench also observed that the suit filed by Future Retail was maintainable, the Emergency Award was valid, and that Future Retail’s resolution approving the transaction with Reliance was also valid.
Earlier this year, Kishore Biyani owned Future Retail had announced its deal with Reliance Retail Ventures Limited about the sale of its retail and wholesale business to Reliance Retail, mentioning plans to merge key group companies including Future Retail, Future Lifestyle Fashions, Future Consumer, Future Supply Chains and Future Market Networks into FEL.
In November 2020, the Competition Commission of India gave a nod to Reliance Industries Limited’s offer worth Rs 24,713-crore to acquire the assets of Future Retail. “The acquisition of retail, wholesale, logistics & warehousing businesses of Future Group by Reliance Retail Ventures and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited,” said a tweet from the regulator.
Jeff Bezos owned e-retail giant owns a stake in Future Coupon Pvt Ltd and is, in turn, a 9.87% shareholder in Future Retail Limited. Taking note of the deal between Reliance Retail and Future Retail, invoked the arbitration on the grounds that companies of Mukesh Ambani are featured in a negative list of 30 entities and Future group could not transact with them.