Amazon has approached the Supreme Court to challenge a Delhi High Court order that had vacated the stay on the deal for the sale of Future Retail to Reliance Retail, a deal which was announced in August 2020, but has yet to be completed.
In its petition to the apex court, the US-based ecommerce giant termed the most recent March 22 order of a division bench of the Delhi HC as “illegal”, “random”, “inequitable and unfair”.
The Delhi HC stayed an earlier single judge order from the same court, which had restrained Future from proceeding with the sale of its assets to Reliance.
On March 18, a single-judge bench of the Delhi HC had upheld the award of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), which in October 2020, had ordered a stay on the Reliance-Future deal, until the completion of arbitration proceedings initiated by Amazon. The court had observed that Future had acted in violation of the Singapore arbitrator’s emergency award, and directed the company to approach all authorities and recall the approvals that had been granted to it for the deal with Reliance. The court had also imposed a cost on Future group promoters, including the founder Kishore Biyani.
Amazon had previously approached the apex court in February after a Delhi HC order had allowed Future to go ahead with the deal. The Supreme Court had then directed the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) to proceed with its hearing on the scheme of arrangement for the Reliance-Future deal but not pass any final orders until it received further instructions from the top court. That matter is listed for hearing on April 27.
Meanwhile, Reliance has extended the long-stop date for completion of its INR 24,713 Cr acquisition deal with Future Group by another six months.
In August last year, Reliance Retail announced that it would acquire the retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing divisions of India’s second-largest retail chain, Future Group for over INR 24K Cr.
Soon after, Amazon objected to the deal and served a legal notice to Future Group, arguing that according to its contract with Future, the sale of the business to certain companies, including Reliance, is barred.
In 2019, Amazon had purchased a 49% stake in Future Coupons, the promoter-entity of Future Retail.
During court hearings, Future argued that Future Retail, which is the entity to be acquired by Reliance, is not part of the contract between Amazon and Future. Amazon, on the other hand, has argued that both companies have the same owners and promoters.