Amazon tells SEBI that Reliance-Future deal will cause e-tailer irreparable harm; asks to suspend review

By: |
November 1, 2020 12:20 PM

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) had restrained the deal on October 25, through an interim order, signed in August between Future Retail and Reliance Retail Ventures for the former to sell retail, wholesale, logistics, and warehousing units to the latter.

In other words, breaking up these tech firms can have serious consequences for overall R&D-spend. By the way, Rajan’s paper talks of similar “killer acquisitions” when pharma firms take over rivals.Amazon had also written to the BSE and National Stock Exchange asking them not to give the go-ahead to the deal. (Image: Reuters)

E-commerce company Amazon India has told SEBI that if the Reliance-Future Group deal “is implemented by completely disregarding the interim (arbitration) award, it will cause irreparable harm and injury to Amazon,” according to a Reuters report citing a letter sent by the e-retailer to the regulator’s Chairman Ajay Tyagi. Amazon also asked SEBI to “suspend review” of the deal while adding that it will lose the prospect of becoming the single largest shareholder of the Future Group, which has an “irreplaceable and widespread network” of over 1,500 retail stores.

Amazon had also written to the BSE and National Stock Exchange asking them not to give the go-ahead to the deal. However, BSE would seek clarifications from Future Retail and Reliance Industries about the deal, the report added citing an exchange source. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) had on October 25 restrained the deal, through an interim order, signed in August between Future Retail and Reliance Retail Ventures for the former to sell retail, wholesale, logistics, and warehousing units to the latter.

Amazon didn’t comment on the letter sent while Reliance and SEBI also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Also read: Amazon says B2B orders up 108% during festive week from year-ago; 50% came from Tier-II, III cities

Amazon also wrote in the letter sent on Wednesday that Future’s news release and stock exchange disclosures violated Indian regulations. “Such a disclosure is against public interest, misleads public shareholders … as well as perpetuates a fraud for the benefit of the Biyanis alone.” The US retailer further said that its 2019 investment of close to $200 million in a Future unit carried clauses according to which the latter couldn’t sell its retail assets to anyone on a “restricted persons” list, which included Reliance.

Meanwhile, the trader’s association CAIT said that Amazon’s deal to acquire Future’s assets reminds them of the colonial era when “East India Company initiated the process of killing Indian business ecosystem in the same manner by acquiring Indian states one by one and controlled & monopolised Indian business has come out in support of the Future Group,” according to its Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal. It is an alarming bell for the Indian government and conglomerates of Corporate India and has exposed sinister designs of Foreign-funded MNCs to control Indian retail trade, he added.

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