Future-Reliance deal stuck again

The Supreme Court has barred the national company Law Tribunal (NCLT) from giving a final verdict on the deal worth about Rs 24,713 crore ($ 3.4 billion) of Future Retail and Reliance. The court was hearing the petition filed by Amazon against the Delhi High Court order restraining the single bench’s decision to maintain status quo in the case. It also sought a response from Future Retail on the petition.

A bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman also said that the case hearing in the NCLT could continue but a final order on the deal could not be given. Issuing notice to Future Retail, the bench said that they should respond to the petition of Amazon within three weeks and reply after two weeks and then the petition of Amazon will be listed for hearing. Meanwhile, the NCLT will be allowed to continue the hearing but a final decision will not be taken on the deal. The apex court also clarified that the Delhi High Court bench will not proceed further in the case.

Amazon, led by Jeff Bezos, has long been in a legal dispute with Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail. Amazon alleges that Future is in breach of the agreement it had with him and has agreed to sell its retail assets to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance. But Future says it has not breached any agreement.

Salman Waris, managing partner of Teklejis Advocates and Solicitors, said, “The apex court has issued notice to Future Retail and others on the petition of Amazon and prohibited NCLT from giving final order to approve future retail deal”.

Salman Waris, managing partner of Teklejis Advocates and Solicitors, said that the final order of the Singapore International Arbitration Arbitration has become the basis of the Supreme Court order. Now the Fitchur Retail Singupar arbitration arbitration can go to arbitration and seek an interim stay on the emergency arbitration order. Heir said that the court has sought a written reply from Future Retail and asked to hear the case five weeks later.

The Delhi High Court had stayed the order of a single bench, causing a setback to Amazon. Therefore, it has filed a special leave petition against the order of the Delhi High Court in the Supreme Court. The Delhi High Court bench had stated in its order that Future Retail was not a party to the arbitration agreement with Amazon and prima facie the principle of group companies could not be enforced in the present case as the three agreements – Future Retail Shareholding Agreement, Future coupons and FCPL share purchase agreements were of different types. The bench observed that there was no reason for seeking status quo on the deal. He also said that the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Competition Commission of India cannot be prevented from proceeding as per law.

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