The Amazon-Future arbitration which is going on before a three-member arbitration tribunal over the latter’s Rs 24,500-crore deal with Reliance was halted by the Delhi High Court today.
The 2019 deal was suspended last month after the antitrust agency cited supression of information by Amazon while seeking clearances. Future argued there was no legal basis for the arbitration between the two sides to continue.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said there is a prima facie case in favour of appellants Future Retail Ltd (FRL) and Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) and if a stay is not granted, it will cause an irreparable loss to them.
“We hereby stay further proceedings of the arbitral tribunal till the next date of hearing and we also stay the single judge’s January 4 order till the next date of hearing,” the bench said while listing the matter for further hearing on February 1.
The US company successfully used the terms of its 2019 investment in a Future unit to block the Indian retailer’s attempt to sell retail assets to rival Reliance Industries, alleging breach of certain contracts.
Amazon and the Future Group have been locked in a bitter legal tussle. The Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC) is adjudicating Amazon’s objections against Future Group’s Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd.
Amazon argued that FRL violated their contract by entering into a deal for the sale of its assets to billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail on a slump sale basis for Rs 24,500 crore.
In December, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) suspended its over-two-year-old approval for Amazon’s deal to acquire a 49-per cent stake in Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL), FRL’s promoter, and also slapped a penalty of ~CHECK~ 202 crore on the e-commerce major.
Amazon is objecting to the sell-off plans, accusing Future Group of breaching its 2019 investment pact. Future Coupons was founded in 2008, and is engaged in the business of marketing and distribution of gift cards, loyalty cards and other reward programmes to corporate customers.
Several issues arising from the Amazon-Future legal battle are pending before the Supreme Court.
(With agency inputs)