December 09, 2021 13:11 (IST)
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Big relief for Future Group as SC stays seizure of assets Reliance-Future Deal

Big relief for Future Group as SC stays seizure of assets

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 09 Sep 2021, 03:22 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: In a big relief to Future Group, the Supreme Court has halted the seizure of Future Coupons, Future Retail and Future Group owned by Kishore Biyani.

On March 18, the Delhi High Court restricted Future Retail from selling its business to Reliance Retail, which was challenged by e-commerce giant Amazon, upholding the Singapore International Arbitration Centre's order, said media reports.

Justice JR Midha ruled that Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail wilfully violated the ruling of Singapore arbitrator and directed it to not take forward Rs 24,713 crore  deal.

The High Court had asked the Future Group and its directors to show cause why they should not be detained for three months for violating the earlier ruling of Singapore arbitrator under the civil provisions. They were asked to deposit Rs 20 lakh in the Prime Minister's Relief Fund to provide Covid-19 vaccine to financially disadvantaged senior citizens.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court directed market regulator SEBI, National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT) and Competition Commission of India (CCI), not to pass any order against the Future Group for four weeks, according to an NDTV report.

The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice A S Bopanna will hear the matter after four weeks, the report informed.

Earlier Future Coupons Private Limited had moved the Supreme Court, seeking to stay an order passed by the Delhi High Court to attach the assets of Future Coupons, Future Retail and Future Group promoter Kishore Biyani, the report said.

The high court gave its order after Amazon approached it with the request to enforce Singapore International Arbitration Centre's October 25, 2020 order that restrained the sale of Future Group's retail assets to Reliance Retail.

On August 6, 2021, the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of e-commerce giant Amazon and held that an award of an Emergency Arbitrator of a foreign country.

Background

On August 29, 2020, Future Group had announced the sale of its retail and wholesale assets to Reliance Retail Ltd for Rs 24,713-crore.

In August 2019, Amazon had bought 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons for Rs 1,500 crore.

Amazon said its 2019 deal with Future Group prevents it from selling the shares of Future Retail to RIL, its biggest rival in India, as the world's biggest e-commerce platform indirectly owns about a 3.5 per cent stake in Future Retail.

On October 25, 2020, it won an injunction to halt the sale from a Singapore arbitrator that both the entities had agreed to use in case of dispute.

The Court had written to BSE and SEBI to uphold the ruling.

Later, Amazon sent a legal notice to Future Coupons over its deal with Reliance.

In January, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) cleared the Rs 24,713 crore retail asset sale of Future Group to Mukesh Ambai-led Reliance Industries with conditions.

Future Group must specifically mention the case pending before the Delhi High Court and arbitration proceedings by the global e-commerce major Amazon contesting the deal, SEBI directed while issuing the clearance in January, 2021.

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) had also granted its "no adverse observation" report, it added.

"The letters issued by BSE & NSE clearly state that comments of SEBI on the "draft scheme of arrangement" (proposed transaction) are subject to the outcome of the ongoing arbitration and any other legal proceedings. We will continue to pursue our legal remedies to enforce our rights," Amazon spokesperson had said post the development.

In December 2020, the Delhi High Court quashed Future Group's petition seeking its directive restraining Amazon from interfering in the asset sale to Reliance.