Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea from Future Group, seeking to restrain the e-commerce giant Amazon Inc from interfering with its latest $3.4 bn deal with Reliance Retail.
The decision was signed by Justice Mukta Gupta, who wrote in the verdict that Amazon cannot be declined from writing to regulators, as it might cause irreparable damage to the company.
This is just the latest development in a long series of legal disputes concerning Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail, and the common link between the two behemoths-Future Group.
Before lockdown ravished the Indian economy, putting a huge dent into its burgeoning retail marker, Future Retail (a subsidiary of Future Group) was the second largest retailer in the country, after Reliance Retail. However, it seems like the cost of the lockdown was too much for the Kishore Biyani led company, as Future Group decided to sell a majority stake in its company to Reliance Retail earlier this summer.
This did not go down well with Amazon, which had bought a 49% stake in Future Coupons, another subsidiary of Future Group. During this acquisition, the company had also feigned interest in buying stake in Future Retail, if the Indian government were to ever undo the bar it has set around foreign ownership in multi brand retailers.
As soon as the news about the Reliance-Future deal broke out, Amazon started opposing it, claiming that the acquisition affected its own interest, since it owns a part of the company (through Future Coupons). Ever since, the e-commerce giant has been seeking every legal route possible. The company managed to get a Singapore Court to interfere with the deal, even though both Reliance and Future Retail said that they were planning to go through with it anyway.
Then, the CCI also approved the deal, which was a huge blow to Amazon.
With today’s order, it seems like Amazon has finally been able to register a win, as it will now be able to write to CCI, SEBI and other authorities.