In what would mark a culmination (that Future Group wouldn’t have wanted) for one of India’s most noted, high-stakes corporate tussle, Reliance Industries has officially called off efforts to close its $3.4Bn deal with Future Group. This comes after Future Group’s creditors decided to vote against it. Future Retail said in filings on April 22 that as much as 69% of secured lenders voted to reject Reliance’s offer, falling short of the threshold needed to win approval.
The deal was controversial from the day it was announced, with Amazon putting it across a series of court proceedings to ensure the deal doesn’t go through. Amazon has aggressively contested the takeover by Ambani-owned Reliance, arguing in several courts that contractually it had the first right of refusal to buy Future.
In a filing Saturday, Reliance Industries Ltd. said its proposal to acquire certain assets of Mumbai-based Future Group — which ran the nation’s biggest retail grocery chain before the pandemic struck — “cannot be implemented” after its flagship firm Future Retail Ltd. failed to win the approval of its secured creditors for the deal.
Both firms saw steep decline in their share prices — the decline obviously much more profound for Future Retail. The company saw shares slip by as much as 5%, with the decline totalling to over 45% this year. For Reliance, the company saw a 1.4% decline in its share price.
While Reliance controls India’s largest retail chain network, Amazon-invested Future Group was the second largest. The deal, had it materialised, could have catapulted Reliance’s efforts to spuercharge its digital marketplace — JioMart, which has so far received a rather timid consumer response. Jio already counts the likes of Google, Facebook among other as its investors.
The call-off however, would perhaps have little to no impact on the cash-flushed Reliance, which has reportedly already poached several Future Group employees as well as taken over leases of retail spaces that it owned.