The Delhi High Court has reserved its order on Future Retail’s suit related to its deal with Reliance Retail. Last month, the deal between Reliance and Future was stalled by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), after Amazon had initiated proceedings.
On Friday, after the completion of all parties’ arguments on the matter, the Delhi HC asked them to submit their written submissions to the court by Monday. A court reserving its order means that the matter has been kept in abeyance for a while.
On Friday, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Future Retail, kept up the practice of comparing US-based retail giant Amazon to the East India Company.
Salve’s arguments to the court seemed to be focused on the fact that Amazon has a 49% stake in Future Coupons, the promoter-entity of Future Retail. And while Amazon also has a 3.58% stake in Future Retail, it is not a controlling stake.
“Amazon has an agreement with FCPL. Then he says controllers are common. The obligation of the promoter to Amazon cannot be attributed to the company. I am not bound by the commitment made by the promoter to the third party,” Salve said in court on Friday.
“So Biyani must jump when we ask him to but we have no control.. that is what was argued. This native has to act as per the East India Company,” Salve quipped while referring to Future Group founder and CEO Kishore Biyani and equating Amazon to the East India Company.
On the other hand, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium appearing for Amazon, claimed that the award of the Singapore-based emergency arbitrator was valid since both parties (Amazon and Future) had chosen SIAC rules for arbitration and engagement.
“If parties agree to SIAC rules, the implication is that they agree to the entire gamut of the rules,” said Subramanium.
“The SIAC rules themselves contemplate an Emergency Arbitrator. That contemplation in the rules by virtue of one provision in our law becomes a sacred agreement between the parties.”
Meanwhile on Friday, India’s antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the INR 24,713 Cr deal for the sale of Future Retail to Reliance Retail
What Happened Before The Case Came To Delhi HC?
In October, Amazon had served a legal notice to Kishore Biyani-owned Future Group, over the latter’s alleged breach of a non-compete contract with the sale of its retail, wholesale, businesses to Reliance Retail in August this year.
Amazon, which had last year 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 August, Reliance Retail had entered into a deal to acquire the retail, wholesale, logistics, and warehousing businesses of the Future Group for INR 24K Cr. Biyani’s Future Enterprises Ltd (FEL) retained the manufacturing and distribution of FMCG goods, integrated fashion sourcing and manufacturing businesses, its insurance joint venture with Generali, and a joint venture with NTC Mills.