Verdict on Amazon arbitration plea over Future-RIL deal expected soon

An outcome in this matter would decided the fate of the Future-Reliance deal announced on August 29, 2020

A one-man arbitration panel heard the plea of Amazon and Future Group last week and a verdict is expected in a few days, according to sources.

A hearing of the arbitration took place at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre on October 16 after Amazon had slapped a legal notice on Future Group, alleging that the retailer's Rs 24,713 crore asset sale to Reliance Industries (RIL) violated an agreement with the e-commerce giant.

According to sources familiar with the matter, VK Rajah - the sole arbitrator in the Amazon vs Future vs Reliance arbitration matter - heard the matter on October 16.

Rajah, former Attorney General of Singapore, is expected to deliver his judgment in the next few days, the sources said.

Amazon has declined to comment over the development.

We cannot offer any comments as the matter is sub-judice, said an Amazon Spokesperson.

E-mails sent to Future Group and Reliance did not solicit any response.

An outcome in this matter would decided the fate of the Future-Reliance deal announced on August 29, 2020 in which Future Group had announced sale of its retail, wholesale and logistics etc to Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), the retail arm of RIL.

In the hearing, Future Retail side was represented by advocate Harish Salve, sources said.

Last year, Amazon had bought a 49 per cent stake in one of Future's unlisted firms, Future Coupons Ltd, with the right to buy into flagship Future Retail after a period between 3 and 10 years. Future Coupons owns 7.3 per cent stake in Future Retail.

The tussle between Future and Amazon comes at a time when RIL has been bolstering its position in the country's retail segment. RRVL- run by India's richest man Mukesh Ambani - has been on a fund raising spree and since September, it has raised Rs 37,710 crore by selling stake in its retail arm.

RRVL operates India's largest, fastest-growing and most profitable retail business spanning supermarkets, consumer electronics chain stores, cash and carry wholesale business, fast-fashion outlets and online grocery store JioMart.

It operates about 12,000 stores in nearly 7,000 towns, with 640 million footfalls across core categories of grocery, consumer electronics and apparel. Revenues for Reliance Retail in 2019-20 stood at Rs 1.63 lakh crore.

The investments equip Reliance Retail with funds to compete in both offline and online formats. The investments come as the country's retail sector prepares for the upcoming festive season and would help Reliance to launch an assault on rivals such as Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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