Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Reliance and Future Group, two of the biggest retail companies in India, sent waves across the entire retail ecosystem of the country when they announced that the former will be acquiring a controlling stake in the latter, making its hold over the market even stronger than before. This, as one would expect, did not sit well with competitors, including Amazon, which decided to move against this acquisition. Now, after months of legal battle, the US ecommerce giant has finally reigned victorious, as the Supreme Court of India has ruled in its favor, passing probably one of the biggest decisions in Indian retail market’s history.

The apex court in the country has declared the Singapore EA’s award, stopping the merger on Amazon’s behest, is valid.

Last year, Reliance had agreed to buy a majority stake in Future Group for $3.4Bn. However, Amazon, which had also bought a stake in Future Coupons (one of Future Group’s subsidiaries), was not happy with this acquisition and sought to stop it. Thus, it moved to a Singapore court, which ordered a stay on the deal, siding with Amazon.

However, both Reliance and Future Group argued that the stay was not valid, and decided to go ahead with the acquisition anyway. Amazon, in response, moved to Delhi High Court, asking for the Singapore court’s order.

While the US tech giant continued its battle, it barely registered any wins, as the Future Group acquisition gained approval from not just CCI but SEBI as well. The Delhi Court did order a stay on the deal at one point, but decided to lift the status quo just a short while later. Thus, it almost looked like the fight was over.

However, to everyone’s surprise, the Supreme Court has now sided with Amazon, saying that the order by the Singapore arbitrator in October was in fact valid.

The provisions of the Act deal with the interim measures ordered by an arbitral tribunal and section 17 (1) says: “Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral tribunal may, at the request of a party, order a party to take any interim measure of protection as the arbitral tribunal may consider necessary in respect of the subject-matter of the dispute.”

This decision has caused Future Group’s shares to drop by 6%, while Reliance share price is also down by 1.3%.

India, which is already opening up to the e-commerce market, is one of Amazon’s biggest markets. This decision has the chance to change the entire retail ecosystem of the country, making sure that Amazon still has the chance to compete against the likes of Reliance Retail and FRL by stopping them from joining forces.