Amazon dispute: Maintain status quo on deal with RIL, Supreme Court to Future Retail

By: |
November 12, 2021 4:00 AM

The CJI told FRL's counsel that on September 9 the SC had already passed a consent order that regulatory authorities will not approve the deal without prior nod from the apex court.

The apex court also sought response from FRL on Amazon’s application against the NCLT's order.The apex court also sought response from FRL on Amazon’s application against the NCLT's order.

The Supreme Court on Thursday told Future Retail (FRL) not to proceed with its Rs 24,713-crore merger deal with Reliance Retail in any manner till it hears the case on November 23.

A bench led by Chief Justice RV Ramana said it will hear the cross-appeals filed by both Amazon and the FRL on November 23.

While FRL has appealed against the Delhi High Court’s refusal to grant a stay on the order of the Singapore tribunal restraining the firm from going ahead with the merger, Amazon has appealed against the order of the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai bench’s September 28 order allowing FRL to convene meetings of its shareholders and creditors to seek approval for going ahead with the deal.

The apex court also sought response from FRL on Amazon’s application against the NCLT’s order.

The CJI told FRL’s counsel that on September 9 the SC had already passed a consent order that regulatory authorities will not approve the deal without prior nod from the apex court.

The SC also issued notice to Amazon and FRL on an intervention application filed by IDBI Trusteeship Services seeking to de-freeze Future Retail shares pledged to it. Senior counsel Neeraj Kaul for the trusteeship told the SC that the Delhi HC on March 18 had attached FRL’s shares which were pledged to it and since the apex court had barred the HC from proceeding with the case, it has failed to access its shares. The Chief Justice said the apex court will hear IDBI Trusteeship on November 23 as well.

Meanwhile, justice Hima Kohli, who is part of the bench, said her family members hold shares in the Reliance group companies and offered to recuse herself if any party or counsel had objections to her being on the bench. However, the lawyers representing both sides said they had no objection to justice Kohli hearing the matter.

The spat between FRL and Amazon has been on since October 25, 2020, when Singapore’s Emergency Arbitrator passed an interim order restraining FRL from going ahead with its deal with Reliance Retail. Amazon, which had acquired an indirect minority stake in Future Group in 2019, has alleged that Future’s sale of its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing businesses to Reliance Retail breached its pre-existing contract, which included a right of the first offer and a non-compete clause.

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