Amazon moves SC, challenges lifting of stay on Future-RIL deal by Delhi HC

Amazon has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s division bench order that had vacated a stay on Kishore Biyani-led Future proceeding with its Rs 24,713 crore asset sale to RIL


Amazon | Future Group | Reliance Industries

Amazon has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s division bench order that had vacated a stay on Kishore Biyani-led Future Group proceeding with its Rs 24,713 crore asset sale to Reliance Industries.

Amazon, in the petition, sought a stay on the March 22 order of the division bench, terming it “illegal”, “random”, “inequitable and unfair”.

On March 22, a division bench of the Delhi High Court had granted Future a reprieve from a March 18 single-judge order that restrained it from taking any steps to sell assets to Reliance.

Amazon has now moved the Supreme Court and challenged the March 22 order, requesting a stay till a final outcome of its earlier plea related to the deal.

Pass an ex-parte interim order/ interim order and stay the Impugned Interim Common Order dated 22.03.2021 passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi . till the issues raised herein are finally decided by this Hon’ble Court, Amazon said in its petition filed before the Supreme Court.

It has also requested the apex court to pass any further order, which it may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the present case, Amazon’s petition, a copy which was seen by PTI, said.

Amazon and Future Retail Ltd (FRL) did not respond to e-mailed queries.

According to the plea filed by Amazon, the division bench has committed a grave error in passing an order in a non-maintainable appeal, permitting Future Group to commit further breaches of the EA (Emergency Arbitration) order.

Amazon submitted that the single judge had passed a well-reasoned order spanning over 130 pages and the division bench passed the interim order in a mechanical manner staying its operation on the same reasons.

Therefore, the petitioner (Amazon) approached this Court by filing SLP(special leave petition) , it added.

Earlier, Amazon had moved the Supreme Court after the single judge had passed an interim order on February 2, 2021 staying the deal and the division bench had on February 8, 2021 stayed the operation of the order over the plea filed by FRL.

The Supreme Court had then issued notice over Amazon’s plea giving the go-ahead to the proceedings before the Mumbai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) over the scheme of arrangement between Future and Reliance, but these entities were not to pass any order sanctioning the deal. The plea is listed on April 27 for hearing.

The Future-Reliance deal, which is contested by the global e-commerce major Amazon, has already received clearance from CCI, SEBI and bourses, and the scheme of arrangement is now awaiting the nod from NCLT and shareholders.

The scheme of arrangement entails the consolidation of Future Group’s retail and wholesale assets into one entity Future Enterprises Ltd and then transferring it to Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) in the Rs 24,713 crore deal that was announced in August last year.

Meanwhile, the timeline for the deal to be completed has been extended by six months to September 30, 2021 by Reliance Retail.

Amazon and Future have been locked in a bitter legal tussle after the US e-commerce giant dragged Future Group to arbitration at SIAC in October last year, arguing that the latter had violated their contract by entering into the deal with rival Reliance.

Amazon had invested in Future Coupons in August 2019 with an option of buying into the flagship Future Retail after a period of three to 10 years.

On October 25, 2020, an interim order was passed in favour of Amazon with a single-judge bench of V K Rajah barring Future Retail from taking any step to dispose of or encumber its assets or issuing any securities to secure any funding from a restricted party.

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