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Future Group moves Delhi High Court against Amazon ‘interfering’ in acquisition by Reliance

The Future Group has gone to court against Amazon after the e-commerce giant challenged Reliance Retail’s acquisition of much of the Kishore Biyani-headed conglomerate. The development came to light in a stock exchange filing by the Future Group on Sunday. “The Company has filed necessary suit in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on 7th November, 2020 in relation to seeking necessary reliefs against Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC (“Amazon”) from interfering with the Transaction by misusing an Interim Order dated 25th October, 2020 issued by an Emergency Arbitrator, appointed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC),” the Future Group said in a filing.

In August, Reliance Retail had announced that it would be acquiring the Future Group’s retail businesses, like Big Bazaar, for ₹24,713 crore. Amazon protested the deal, saying it had a right of “first refusal” to veto the deal because of an investment it made in 2019 in Future Coupons, the promoter entity of the Future Group. Amazon then got an order from an arbitration centre in Singapore to stop the deal. The Future Group, which said the only alternative to the Reliance acquisition would be financial ruin, has resolutely resisted the order, and said it will not comply, telling stock exchanges to ignore the order.

The Future Group has argued that since Amazon’s contract — which gave it a right of first refusal — was with FRL’s promoters, and not with FRL itself, it had no legal standing. We have reached out to the Future Group and Amazon for comment.

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