The on-court drama across two countries and the off-court media slanging match between Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail Ltd (FRL) and ecommerce giant Amazon has taken a new spin.
FRL on Thursday accused Amazon of adopting a media strategy of having every development reported and converted into a line of communication with stock exchanges.
In a regulatory filing disclosing the development, FRL said, “This disclosure is being made out of abundant caution to avoid any speculation given Amazon’s media strategy of having every development reported and converted into a line of communication with stock exchanges.”
FRL said it is “in receipt of a communication dated 25th November 2020 that the SIAC Court is prima facie satisfied that under Rule 28.1 of the SIAC Rules 2016, the arbitration shall proceed.”
Accordingly, “an arbitrary tribunal would be constituted in the matter. Every stage of the proceedings would not lend itself to being a material event for disclosure,” it added.
When contacted, an Amazon spokesperson told ET, “We do not share any confidential information with the media and reserve our right to communicate with the regulators as and when relevant.”
On Thursday, The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) reportedly turned down Future Retail’s plea that it be excluded from being a party to the Amazon-Future Coupons arbitration proceedings. SIAC has ordered that the arbitration process shall continue.
In October, SIAC had ordered a stay on the sale of Kishore Biyani-owned Future Group’s retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing businesses to Reliance Retail, in a deal reported to be worth INR 24,713 Cr.
Future Retail Limited (FRL) had approached SIAC with the plea that the arbitration proceedings were part of a contract between Amazon and Future Coupons, to which FRL is not a party. The company had pleaded that it be excluded from being a party on account of jurisdiction objection.
Last week, Inc42 reported that the Delhi High Court had reserved its order on Future Retail’s suit related to its deal with Reliance Retail.
During the court proceedings, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Future Retail, had kept up the practice of comparing US-based retail giant Amazon to the East India Company.
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, logistics and warehousing businesses to Reliance Retail in August this year.
Amazon, which had last year bought a 49% stake in FCPL, 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 around INR 24K Cr. According to the deal, Biyani’s Future Enterprises Ltd (FEL) would have 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.