The Competition Commission of India (CCI), on Friday (November 20), approved the controversial Reliance Retail-Future Group deal, which is currently being challenged in Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Delhi high court.
“Commission approves acquisition of retail, wholesale, logistics & warehousing businesses of Future Group by Reliance Retail Ventures Limited and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited,” the CCI tweeted.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail, in August 2020, acquired 30% stake in retail, wholesale, logistics, and warehousing businesses of the Future Group for INR 24K Cr. With this deal, Kishore 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.
The deal caused a problem for Future Group as one of the investors Amazon, which is also one of the biggest competitors of Reliance Retail, called foul on it. Amazon, in October, approached SIAC claiming that the proposed deal between Future Retail and Reliance Industries does not have its approval and hence should not go through.
According to the agreement submitted to the Singapore court, Amazon had barred Future Coupon from selling its assets to 15 companies, including Reliance Industries. These 15 companies included local and global firms like Walmart, Alibaba, Softbank, Google, Naspers, eBay, Target, Paytm, Zomato, Swiggy and others.
However in India, there is a lot more happening. The case is also ongoing in the Delhi high court. Meanwhile, former solicitor general and senior advocate Harish Salve, who is representing Future Retail, has previously told the court that as per the Companies Act 2013, entities with less than 10% shareholding cannot object to the scheme of arrangement.
Amazon, which had acquired a 49% stake in the promoter-entity of Future Retail called Future Coupon, owns a 7.3% stake in Future Group. With this the company has acquired around a 3.58% stake in Future Retail too.
Going beyond the court, Amazon had also written to markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE), urging them to take into consideration the Singapore arbitrator’s interim judgment that has put on hold the INR 24,713 Cr deal between Future group and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd while reviewing the proposed transaction.