Amazon seeks injunction to restrain Future Reliance deal

Amazon seeks injunction to restrain Future Reliance deal

Mumbai: Amazon has approached the Delhi High Court seeking injunction to restrain Future Group in filing any application with regulators to complete its deal with Reliance and enforcing the interim order passed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). In its suit filed Monday, Amazon has asked the court to restrict Future Retail (FRL) from directly or indirectly taking any steps to sell assets or shares without their written prior consent.

Reliance Retail, a unit of Reliance Industries, agreed to buy the retail assets of the Future Group on a slump sale basis for about Rs 25,000 crore, it was announced in August. Amazon, which owns a 49% stake in Future Coupons (FCPL), a Future Group holding company, objected to the deal and approached SIAC which passed an interim order in October last year to put the transaction on hold until it gave a final ruling on their plea.

“Directing to implement the directions in the said order in letter and spirit and set right the wrongs done in violation of the order and not allow any perpetuation of any further wrong-doing including passing resolutions and making appropriate statements to statutory authorities and the public at large,” said Amazon in its petition, reviewed by ET.

Experts said foreign seated interim arbitral awards in India are not enforceable directly.

“Enforcement can be sought by filing a civil suit or by filing an application under section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. Along with a suit, an application seeking interim injunction can also be made,” said Ashish K Singh, managing partner of law firm Capstone Legal.

In December, the high court had rejected FRL’s plea to stop Amazon from intervening in the transaction with Reliance but also observed that the deal was lawful. It also noted that the arbitration agreement was between promoter entity FCPL and Amazon, and not with FRL and conflating this to encompass all Future Group retail assets would violate foreign exchange rules.

Amazon challenged the observation that Reliance Retail’s deal to acquire the assets of Future Retail Ltd was valid and said the view of the single-judge bench was “illegal, invalid, unjustified and liable to be quashed and set aside” in a petition filed nearly a fortnight ago.

Last week, based on Sebi’s observations, the stock exchange said it has no adverse observations on the listing or de-listing requirements and that the scheme can be filed with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in addition to no-objection certificates from creditors and minority shareholders.

However, the stock exchange also said details of complaints made by Amazon, the submissions of FRL, the counter-submissions of Amazon, all proceedings pending and completed in the Delhi High Court and the award of the emergency arbitrator in the Singapore International Arbitration Centre should be brought to the notice of shareholders of the listed entities involved in the scheme while getting their approval for the scheme.

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