Another day, another hurdle for the Future-RIL deal!
As per the latest media reports, the Delhi High Court’s recent order translates into a big win for Amazon against Future Retail. The court upheld the emergency arbitrator’s ruling in favour of the U.S. based e-commerce behemoth.
Justice JR Midha, whilst giving his judgement, said that Kishore Biyani, Future Retail, Future Coupons and others grossly violated the Emergency Award. He then went on to ask them why they should not be subjected to 3-month detention in civil prison for doing so.
This is a huge blow to Biyani as the Delhi H.C. directed the Future Group to approach all required authorities for recalling the approvals they granted to the FRL-RIL deal. But that is not all.
The High Court also asked Biyani’s Future Group to place on record any and every action taken by them in connection with the Reliance Retail deal after October 25 2020, and then slapped a ₹20 lakh fine on Future Retail which the company must deposit to the PM Relief Fund.
Note here that this latest ruling stands completely opposite to the December 2020 ruling passed by the Delhi H.C. wherein a single judge said that Amazon had no right to use the agreement with Future Coupons to exert control over a deal struck by other company under the Future Group umbrella, i.e. Future Retail. Furthermore, back then, the court also mentioned that such an action would be considered as a violation of India’s FEMA aka Foreign Exchange Management Act.
The recent judgement, however, has been entirely reversed. Biyani, along with all other related parties, has been asked to appear in court on April 28 for further proceedings.
Last year on October 25, Amazon was awarded a stay order on the potential Future Retail and Reliance deal from a SIAC, and then the Jeff Bezos headed e-commerce giant went on to write to the BSE and SEBI to uphold that decision.
Prior to that, Amazon had sent a legal notice to Future Coupons over the Future Group’s deal with Reliance worth ₹25,000 crores. Amazon claimed that it was denied the ‘Rights of First Refusal’ for the deal Future Retail agreed to strike with Reliance Retail, and in light of that violation, it seeks to resort to legal remedies. And from then, the never-ending battle amid both ensued.
All in all, the latest development will surely undo lot many preparations Reliance and the Future Group had started to undertake, hoping that the deal would be greenlit at last. According to sources in the know, several Future Retail outlet workers had started undergoing training to be able to start working in Reliance Retail stores. Also, soft launch plans and re-branding efforts were being carried out in full swing to avoid any delay post the approval of regulatory bodies. But, alas! It seems like fate has dealt FRL and RIL a bad hand.
It now remains to be seen what new twists and turns the legal battle between Biyani’s retail empire and Amazon bring to light. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.