Amazon has written to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) asking the market regulator to revoke the conditional approval it has given Reliance Industries, Economic Times’ proposed acquisition of Future Group reported on 08/30
The problem in question has been considered legally since October 2020. Reliance is trying to expand its retail offering by acquiring Future Retail, but Amazon is trying to prevent that deal from being closed.
Future Group vs. Amazon: Brief Timeline of Events
November 2019 –Amazon acquired 49 percent of the shares in Future Coupons, a promoter company that owns approximately 7.3 percent of the shares in Future Retail.
August 2020 – Reliance announced that it will take over the majority of the Future Group’s retail, wholesale and logistics operations, valued at Rs.24,713 billion. Amazon protested the Reliance deal in October 2020, saying its agreement with Future Coupons included a competition-style pact and a right of first refusal over deals with rivals such as Reliance Retail.
October 25, 2020 – Amazon has received an emergency arbitration award from an arbitration tribunal in Singapore against the Future Retail Reliance deal.
March 18, 2021 – A single judge, judge JR Midha of the Delhi High Court, upheld the Singapore emergency arbitrator’s order against the Future Group, put the Future Reliance deal on hold and seized the property of the Future Group and its promoters Kishore and Rakesh Biyani. The court has also ordered Future Retail and its promoters to pay 20 lakh costs into the PM Cares Fund.
March 22, 2021 – A department bank of the Delhi Supreme Court has suspended the March 18 order that allowed the Future Reliance deal to continue. Amazon appealed this suspension to the Supreme Court.
August 6, 2021 – The Supreme Court ruled in Amazon’s favor by accepting its appeal against Delhi HC’s March 22nd order that allowed the Reliance-Future Retail deal to continue. The court also ruled that Amazon’s Singapore-based arbitration award from the emergency arbitrator in India can be legally enforced. Future group filed an application for special leave to the Supreme Court on August 12 against the March 18 order. An SLP can be submitted against otherwise incontestable orders.
Aug 28, 2021 – Future Retail files a new lawsuit challenge before the Supreme Court against Amazon.
A full timeline of events can be found at the end of the article
What does Amazon’s letter to SEBI say?
The August 17 letter cites the recent Supreme Court decision ruling in favor of Amazon, stating that Amazon’s Singapore Emergency Arbitration Center (SIAC) arbitration award can be enforced in India under the rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC).
“Given the directions of the Enforcement Order and Emergency Arbitration (EA) decision, the validity of which has been upheld by the Honorable Supreme Court, Amazon urges you to take whatever action is necessary to comply with the Supreme Court ruling. and further ensure that there are no communications or communications that conflict with the judgment of the Supreme Court. Accordingly, we ask your good offices to instruct the Indian stock exchanges to withdraw the Observation Letters with immediate effect, ”said the Economic Times letter.
Amazon refused to give a copy of the letter to MediaNama, citing confidentiality.
What is Future’s latest legal challenge looking for?
In its recent efforts to clear the Reliance deal, Future Retail filed a lawsuit against Amazon in the Supreme Court, Business Standard, on Aug. 28 reported. It is not known if this is in addition to or part of the special leave request made on August 12.
The 6000-page file argues that if the deal with Reliance does not go through, it would cause “unimaginable” damage, including job losses for 35,575 employees and 28,000 crore rupees in bank loans and bonds, the report said. “If the plan fails, it is inevitable that FRL will be liquidated,” the filing stated.
The company asked the court to treat the case with “extreme urgency” and “uphold the contested orders,” which were passed by the Delhi Supreme Court on March 18.
Separately, the Future Group has also filed a motion with the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) to revoke the arbitration ruling of the emergency arbitrator.
Future Group vs. Amazon: Full Schedule
August 2019 – The submissions revealed that Amazon would like to acquire a 49 percent stake in Future Coupons – the promoter of Future Retail. Future Coupons owns 7.3 percent of Future Retail, which operates 900 stores in India, including 293 Big Bazaar stores. If the deal goes through, Amazon will acquire a 3.58% stake in Future Retail.
November 2019 – The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved Amazon’s proposed acquisition of 49% of the shares in Future Coupons.
August 2020 – Reliance Industries (RIL) announces that it will purchase the majority of Future Group’s retail, wholesale and logistics operations valued at Rs.24,713 billion.
October 7, 2020 – Amazon accuses the Future Group of breach of contract and has slapped them with a legal notice about the Future Group Reliance deal. Amazon reportedly had a peer-to-peer pact and a right of first refusal on deals with rivals such as Reliance Retail.
October 25, 2020 – Amazon has obtained an injunction against the Future Reliance deal from an arbitration tribunal in Singapore, but the Reliance Group and Future Retail have publicly stated that they will proceed with their deal “without delay”.
November 2, 2020 – Future Group urged the exchanges to ignore Amazon’s objections to the Reliance deal as the emergency suspension of the transaction received by Amazon from the Singapore International Arbitration Center had no legal force in India.
November 7, 2020 – Future Group sues Delhi Court against Amazon’s interference in Reliance acquisition.
11/11/2020 – Amazon accuses Future Group of insider trading and says Reliance Retail was improperly informed of the Singapore arbitrator’s order.
11/20/2020 – Despite protests from Amazon, the Indian Competition Commission cleared Reliance Retail’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail, wholesale, logistics and warehouse operations for 24,713 billion yen.
December 21, 2020 – The Delhi High Court said that while the court would not prevent the Future Reliance deal, it would not prevent regulators from making their own assessment of the legality of the deal.
January 20, 2021 – The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has approved the Future Reliance deal with reservations.
March 18, 2021 – A single judge of the Delhi High Court confirmed the emergency arbitration decision against the Future Group obtained in Singapore and thus put the Future Reliance deal on hold. The judge confirmed that the purchase violated an agreement signed between Amazon and Future Coupons, an investor company of Future Retail Limited. The court found that Future Group had agreed to veto Amazon on transactions such as the acquisition of Reliance Retail, but did not keep that promise. The Supreme Court also ruled that Future Retail must put Rs 20 lakh into the PM-CARES fund and that the company’s executives must answer why they shouldn’t be jailed.
March 22, 2021 – A department bank of the Delhi Supreme Court suspended the March 18 order. Amazon is appealing this suspension order to the Supreme Court.
July 9, 2021 – The Supreme Court rescheduled the hearing to July 20, following the final hearing in Singapore’s Arbitration Court, which began on July 12.
July 21, 2021 – The Supreme Court began hearing arguments from Future Retail and Amazon.
July 23, 2021 – CCI accused Amazon in a letter dated Jan.
July 29, 2021 – The Supreme Court reserved his judgment on the matter.
August 6, 2021 – The Supreme Court ruled in Amazon’s favor by accepting its appeal against Delhi HC’s March 22nd order that allowed the Reliance-Future Retail deal to continue. The court ruled that Amazon’s Singapore arbitration ruling from the emergency arbitrator in India could be enforced.
Aug 12, 2021 – Future group filed a petition on special leave to the Supreme Court against the March 18 order, pending hearing. An SLP can be submitted against otherwise incontestable orders.
Aug 18, 2021 – The Delhi High Court informed Future Group that unless the court receives a suspension order from the Supreme Court by September 17, it will suspend its resolution on September 18.
Aug 28, 2021 – Future Group files a new lawsuit challenge before the Supreme Court against Amazon.
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