The Supreme Court of India, on Monday, overturned a Delhi High Court ruling and effectively halted the deal for the sale of Future Retail to Reliance Retail. The order came in response to the US-based ecommerce giant Amazon’s plea for stopping the deal. Amazon has claimed that the Reliance-Future deal would amount to a violation of the contract it has with Future Group.
The Supreme Court instructed the National Company Law Tribunal to proceed with its hearing on the Reliance-Future but has asked it not to pass any final order for sanctioning the scheme until it receives further orders from the court.
Earlier this month, Amazon petitioned the apex court against the deal, after the Delhi High Court had allowed the deal to go through.
The SC’s final ruling on the matter will mark the end of a bitter legal tussle between Amazon and Reliance, over the sale of Future Group’s retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing divisions.
In August last year, Reliance and Future had signed a deal, whereby the former would acquire Future’s retail and other businesses for over INR 24K Cr.
Later, Amazon objected to the deal and served Future a legal notice where it contended that by agreeing to the sale of its business to Reliance, Future was violating the non-compete clause in the contract between both parties.
Amazon, which in 2019 had bought a 49% stake in Future Coupons, the promoter-entity of Future Retail, has contended that according to its contract with Future, the sale of the business to certain companies, including Reliance is barred.
In October, Amazon won a temporary injunction against the Reliance-Future deal from the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
The major focus of Amazon’s arguments against the deal in Indian courts has been that the SIAC order is binding on Future Group.
In January, Future Group founder Kishore Biyani had said that the Reliance deal was a saviour for the company, its employees and stakeholders. He accused Amazon of leaving Future Group in a lurch. Biyani added that Future Group had reached out to Amazon eight times in the past few months seeking financial help, but no support was provided.