The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Future Coupons (FCPL) on Amazon’s appeal against the NCLAT’s order which had upheld the anti-trust regulator’s suspension of the e-commerce firm’s deal with the Future Group firm. Amazon acquisition of a 49% stake in FCPL in 2019 was approved by the CCI, but the approval was put in abeyance in December 2021 because of a compliant that the firm did not disclose all the information.
A bench led by Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and MM Sundresh have asked all the parties to file short notes regarding their submissions within a week and also complete all necessary paperwork before the next date of hearing on September 19.
While senior counsel Gopal Subramanium appeared for Amazon, senior counsel Harish Salve and counsel Rajat Sehgal represented FCPL and Confederation of All India Traders, respectively. Additional Solicitor General R Venkataraman, who is representing the CCI, could not appear due to some personal reasons.
While asking Amazon to pay the penalty of Rs 200 crore within 45 days, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal had in June backed CCI’s December findings that Amazon didn’t make full disclosures in its 2019 deal and had suppressed information while seeking clearances for the Rs 1,400-crore transaction.
Amazon told SC that it had given all the details related to its proposed investment of Rs 1,431 crore in FCPL to the CCI for its approval and the investment was made only after receiving CCI’s nod. The proceeds from its investment in FCPL subsequently flowed down to Future Retail (FRL).
In its notification to the CCI, Amazon had disclosed all the agreements executed between the parties, and also the rights granted to the e-commerce firm with respect to FRL and its retail assets, the e-commerce firm said.
While the 2019 deal was on, Future Group in August 2020 decided to sell its retail assets to Reliance Retail for Rs 24,713 crore. Amazon opposed the transaction on the ground of its deal with FCPL, which it argued gave it a first right of refusal over sale of any assets by Future Group.