BENGALURU: Kishore Biyani’s Future Group on Saturday filed a lawsuit against Jeff Bezos-led Amazon in Delhi HC in a bid to stop the US-based e-tailer from “misusing” the Singapore interim order and “interfering” in the Rs 24,713-crore Reliance-Future deal. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail has also been made a party to the case, a source said.
This intensifies the battle being fought over Biyani’s Future Group between the world’s richest man, Bezos, and Asia’s richest man, Ambani. TOI had reported on October 27 that the Amazon-Future dispute may land up in court as Future Group had said it did not think the Singapore ruling, which stayed the Reliance-Future Deal, was enforceable in India.
In a stock exchange filing on Saturday, Future Retail said it is seeking necessary relief from the court “against Amazon-.com NV Investment Holdings LLC from interfering with the transaction by misusing an interim order issued by an emergency arbitrator, appointed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).”
Future reiterated in the filing on Saturday that it was not a party to the transaction. Last month, Amazon had approached SIAC saying Future Retail violated its contractual agreement by selling the retail assets of Future Group to Reliance.
Last month, Amazon had approached SIAC saying Future Retail violated its contractual agreement by selling the retail assets of Future Group to Reliance.
TOI reported last week that both Amazon and Future had filed caveats in the high court against each other so that they would get a chance to present their case to the court before an interim order is given.
Emails sent to Amazon India and Reliance Retail did not elicit any immediate response.
“It may be noted that the reliefs sought in the suit are only against Amazon,” Future added in the regulatory filing.
The dispute stems from Amazon’s Rs 1,431 crore investment for 50% stake in Future Coupons, which in turn holds 10% stake in the flagship Future Retail, in August last year. As a part of the deal, Biyani had also entered into a restriction on transfer of shares to specified persons and right of first offer of shares to Amazon as well, according to filings made by Future Retail at the time. This list of “specified persons” included Reliance Industries, and other retailers, TOI has reported previously. The deal also gave a right for Amazon to acquire the entire or part of the shares of promoters of Future Retail after 3 years of the deal and before 10 years, in “certain circumstances” and subject to the law.
However, after this deal, Future Retail’s performance languished and Biyani’s personal debts put pressure on the share price of the company as he was not able to meet repayment obligations. Eventually, in August, Reliance Retail announced the deal to acquire Future Group’s retail assets for Rs 24,713 crore, including debt obligations. The sale would include brands like Big Bazaar, Foodhall, fbb, Nilgiris, Easyday, Central and Brand Factory and give access to over 1,700 stores across various formats.