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NCLT puts on hold shareholders meeting of Future Retail – Economic Times

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Monday has put on hold a shareholders meeting of Ltd (FRL) that was proposed to held later this month after Amazon objected to the meet citing previous rulings by courts including the Supreme Court, two people familiar with the development said.

In September, the NCLT had allowed FRL to convene meetings of its shareholders and creditors to seek approval on a sale proposal of the retailer’s assets to

Retail. The meeting was initially scheduled to happen on 11th of November. Then FRL lately approached the NCLT seeking the tribunal’s approval to reschedule the same meeting between 26th-30th November, one of the persons said.

On Monday, Amazon objected to the proposed meeting and cited a Supreme Court’s September ruling that had directed statutory bodies such as the NCLT, Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) not to pass any final order pertaining to the Amazon-FRL dispute for four weeks.

Amazon and Future Group did not respond to ET queries.

In August, the apex court had also endorsed an October 2020 interim order by an emergency arbitrator of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) that had stayed the Future-Reliance deal until the arbitration centre gives its final verdict on the case.

The legal cases stem from Amazon’s opposition to the sell-off of FRL’s assets to Reliance Retail. Amazon had in October 2020 approached the SIAC weeks after Future Group said it had agreed to sell is assets on a slump sale basis to Reliance Retail for Rs 25,000 crore.

Amazon objected to the deal by citing a 2019 investment into FRL’s promoter company and the US e-commerce giant argued that a shareholders agreement between Amazon and the promoter firm Future Coupons bars FRL from parting with its assets to more than a dozen Indian and global entities including Reliance.

In the previous development in one of the several court cases, an arbitration panel of SIAC last month had upheld the October 2020 stay by an emergency arbitrator of the same Singapore centre. A day before that SIAC arbitration panel had also dismissed another petition by FRL to exclude it as a party to the ongoing arbitration process between Amazon and promoter firm Future Coupons.

On Monday, Amazon lawyers argued in the NCLT that the Delhi High Court also refused to stay SIAC’s last month order that had upheld the October 2020 interim order.

Amazon had also petitioned last month in the Supreme Court arguing the NCLT’s September 28 order that had allowed FRL to go ahead with the shareholders meeting was “in violation” of a September 9 order by the apex court that had directed statutory bodies to put on hold for four weeks all proceedings regarding the Rs 25,000-crore proposed deal between Future Group and Reliance Retail.