Reliance-Future Deal Is Approved By SEBI But Biyani May Not Be Happy With It!

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Despite Amazon trying its best to stick a fork between the Reliance-Future deal, the Indian market regulator SEBI has finally given the transaction the go-green signal!

On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Board of India granted Future Group the permission to go ahead with their proposed sale of assets to Reliance Retail based on which the BSE aka Bombay Stock Exchange also granted its “no adverse observation” report to the humongous Rs 25,000-crore deal.

The e-commerce behemoth wrote several letters to the SEBI and many other regulatory agencies to suspense the review of the Future-Reliance deal and give it a no-objection certificate on the grounds that their challenge was still being scrutinised before the Delhi High Court. But, now it seems like the victory is very close to slipping away from Amazon’s hands!

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Five months post the announcement of the deal, SEBI has allowed it to go through, albeit, with some conditions applied. The BSE, in its observation letter, stated that the market regulator, whilst seeking the approval of shareholders or the National Company Law Tribunal aka NCLT, has asked Future Group to mention all the pending litigation procedures before Delhi High Court along with arbitration proceedings by Amazon which contests deal. But that’s not all.

There is another catch involved as well, which is definitely making Kishore Biyani, the founder & CEO of Future Group, anxious – just like before!

BSE announced that SEBI’s approval on the draft scheme of Future Group’s arrangement with Reliance will be subjected to the outcome of the legal proceedings that are still waiting to be resolved.

An Amazon spokesperson, commenting on the development, said that the letters issued by the BSE and NSE clearly state that SEBI giving their go-ahead on the  “draft scheme of arrangement”, i.e proposed transaction is subjected to the outcome of the ongoing arbitration and all other legal proceedings. Thus, Amazon will continue to rely on legal remedies to enforce their rights.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India has directed Future Group to ensure all of the details of the complaints made by Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC and the submissions of its group firm Future Retail are kept track of.

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Along with that, BSE’s observation letter mentioned that Future Group must make sure that they are disclosing all information about the latest financials of the companies involved in the scheme of the transaction before the NCLT.

According to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the validity of the observation letter will be six months, within which Future Group will need to submit the scheme to the National Company Law Tribunal.

Lastly, it mentioned that the Exchange still very much reserves the right to withdraw its ‘no adverse observation’ at any given stage if the information that is submitted is found to be incomplete, incorrect, misleading, false or for the violation of rules, the by-laws and the regulations of the exchange, listing agreement, guidelines/regulations issued by the statutory authorities.

It now remains to be seen how far will Amazon be able to maintain their temporary hold on the Future-Reliance agreement. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.

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