Supreme Court rules in favor of Amazon in Future-Reliance case
The Supreme Court of India today ruled in favor of Amazon in the high-profile case involving the e-commerce giant and Reliance Industries over a business merger. The top court had last week reserved its order in this case. Earlier, a Singapore tribunal had restrained Future Group from going ahead with its merger with Reliance. Here are more details on this.
Amazon has challenged Future Group's merger with Reliance, saying it violated contracts by agreeing to sell retail assets to the Mukesh Ambani-led company. The last year's deal was worth more than Rs. 27,000 crore, reports say. Amazon argues Future could not sell assets to Reliance and some other companies as per their deal. Future, however, denies any wrongdoing.
Amazon had invested in Future Group in 2019, acquiring a 49% stake in Future Coupons Ltd. Future is notably India's second-largest retailer, with more than 1,700 stores.
The Singapore Emergency Arbitrator had earlier restrained the Future-Reliance deal. A single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court then held the order to be enforceable in India, also directing the seizure of assets belonging to Future's Kishore Biyani. However, another High Court bench later put that order on hold, prompting Amazon to approach the Supreme Court.
Today's order was passed by an SC bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai. They had reserved the judgment on July 29. "Emergency Arbitrator's award holds good under Section 17(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and single Judge's order for such award cannot be appealed under Section 37(2)," the court said. Senior advocate Harish Salve had represented Future in the case.
However, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country's antitrust regulator, has accused Amazon of concealing facts and making false claims with respect to its 2019 investment in Future, reports said last month. This means that despite the favorable outcome in the SC judgment today, the CCI could still complicate the battle for the US-based company.