Future Group-Reliance Industries deal gets CCI nod despite Amazon’s objections

By: |
November 21, 2020 3:30 AM

“Commission approves acquisition of retail, wholesale, logistics & warehousing businesses of Future Group by Reliance Retail Ventures Limited and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited,” CCI said in a tweet.

Justice Mukta Gupta heard arguments for five days and asked the parties to give written submissions, if any, by November 23.Justice Mukta Gupta heard arguments for five days and asked the parties to give written submissions, if any, by November 23.

Despite Amazon’s requests to various Indian regulators to take note of an interim stay awarded by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) on the Future Group-Reliance Industries deal, the Competition Commission (CCI) on Friday approved the Rs 24,713-crore transaction the two companies had signed in August.

“Commission approves acquisition of retail, wholesale, logistics & warehousing businesses of Future Group by Reliance Retail Ventures Limited and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited,” CCI said in a tweet.

Amazon, which acquired an indirect minority stake in Future Retail (FRL) last year, has alleged that Future’s sale of its businesses to Reliance breached its pre-existing contract, which included a right of the first offer and a non-compete clause.

Last month, SIAC restrained FRL and its founders from going ahead with the sale until a final decision was given. Subsequently, Amazon wrote to Sebi, the stock exchanges and the CCI, urging them to take into consideration the Singapore arbitrator’s interim decision as it is a binding order.

Future Retail moved the Delhi High Court earlier this month seeking necessary relief against Amazon from interfering with the transaction by misusing an interim order issued by an emergency arbitrator, appointed by SIAC.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for FRL, told the court that the US-based company is trying to mislead the Indian authorities by giving the impression that the Singapore arbitration award is legally binding while it is not. FRL said the e-commerce firm was misrepresenting its legal rights and behaving like “East India Company”. Amazon on its part argued that Indian law grants sanctity to international arbitration orders if the parties were willing participants.

The case is currently being heard in the Delhi High Court, which on Friday reserved its order. Justice Mukta Gupta heard arguments for five days and asked the parties to give written submissions, if any, by November 23.

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