Reliance-Future Contract Worth Rs 24K Crore Can Get Postponed As Delhi HC Refuses Amazon’s Petition Against Future Retail
The Rs 24,000 agreement between Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail will have to wait, as Amazon Inc. was subsequently denied by the Delhi High Court on Monday for a temporary injunction against Jeff Bezos for preventing it from writing to statutory authorities.
Amazon Inc. has written to the regulatory agencies, including the SEBI market regulator, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) competition watchdog, citing the order of the Emergency Arbitrator as ‘binding,’ a change that could delay the trillion-dollar contract.
The order was pronounced on Monday by a single judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta. The order said: “the statutory authorities are free to act as per law.”
The court acknowledged, prima facie, that the litigation brought by Future Retail was maintainable, that the Emergency Award was appropriate, and that the resolution of Future Retail accepting the transaction with Reliance was also correct.
The case was filed by Future Retail after an emergency arbitrator of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) stopped Future Group from taking further actions after Amazon contested the agreement to resume the transaction with Reliance Retail.
Amazon claimed that the Emergency Arbitrator in Singapore had already dealt with much of the claims raised by Future Retail and Reliance and that Amazon had not broken any FDI laws as Future Coupons Private Limited (FCPL) is an Indian company and that the money coming from FCPL to Future Retail will not be regarded as FDI.
Amazon has argued that it has a 49 percent stake in FCPL, which has FRL shares of 9.82 percent. Therefore, Amazon’s FRL stake is half successful and will not reach the 10% threshold set by India’s FDI strategy in the multi-brand retail industry.
Future Retail appealed to the court that in the first instance it did not recognize the decision of the Emergency Arbitrator as binding at all, and therefore there was no question of appealing it, but prayed that to delay the contract, Amazon was stopped from writing to the statutory authorities. The Emergency Award was of no significance, according to Future Retail, since it was not enforceable in India.
Before the court, the Future Party case backed by Reliance Industries said that Amazon was playing mischief by stalling the contract.
For remarks, an Amazon spokeswoman was not readily available since the order was studied by the legal staff. Future Group President Kishore Biyani did not immediately respond to ABP Network text messages.
It should be noted that the Reliance-Future agreement was already approved by the CCI last month, while the deal needs SEBI approval and other regulatory approvals.