On Monday, the Delhi High Court refused to grant Future Retail Ltd’s (FRL) request to Kishore Biyani for an interim injunction restricting Amazon from writing to SEBI, CCI and other authorities about the arbitral order against the selling of its properties.
Justice Mukta Gupta passed the order on FRL’s plea alleging that Amazon is interfering with the ~24,713 crores Reliance-Future contract by writing to the authorities about the award of the emergency arbitrator.
In August of last year, Amazon purchased 49 percent of one of the unlisted companies of the Kishore Biyani-led Future Group—Future Coupons Ltd (FCL)—with the right to buy into the listed flagship FRL after a few years, if the government were to reverse its bar on foreign ownership of multi-brand retailers.
Soon after the nationwide lockout imposed to curb the coronavirus outbreak, FRL ran into a severe cash shortage. It cut a deal to sell properties for ~24,713 crores with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).
Amazon then dragged Future to SIAC arbitration, arguing that its contract with the unlisted FCL barred a deal with a variety of individuals and businesses, including Reliance.
Amazon also wrote to market regulator Sebi and stock exchanges, urging them to take into account the interim judgement of the Singapore arbitrator that placed on hold the ~24,713-crore agreement between Future Group and RIL while evaluating the proposed transaction.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) explained the contract last week.
FRL has already moved the Delhi High Court from “reliefs” with its RIL agreement seeking “interfering” against Amazon and alleged that an interim order passed by a Singapore arbitrator was “misusing” by the e-commerce giant. The Delhi High Court reserved its order regarding the application last week.
Future Group has control over a third of India’s organized food and grocery market through its chain of Big Bazaar and Nilgiri Supermarket chains. Physical stores account for more than 90 percent of all retail sales in India.
The early online retail models focussed on smartphones and apparel as quick wins now the attention is moving to grocery which has the highest frequency across categories and huge potential for private labels.