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Amazon moves SC to stop Future Retail from holding shareholder meet

MUMBAI :

US e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. has filed an interim application in the Supreme Court seeking to halt the meeting of shareholders and creditors of Future Retail Ltd (FRL) to approve the deal with Reliance Industries Ltd’s (RIL’s) retail unit, which a company court had approved.

On 28 September, the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) allowed Kishore Biyani-led Future Group companies to hold meetings of its shareholders and creditors to seek approval to sell assets to Reliance Retail Retail Ventures Ltd.

In a stock exchange filing on Thursday, FRL said Amazon, in its appeal, has asked the apex court to pass an order to set aside the 28 September order passed by the Mumbai NCLT bench.

Amazon has also sought a stay on the operation of the NCLT order and to grant a stay on the operation of the notice of meetings dated 11 October 2021 issued by FRL, restraining the convening of any meeting pertaining to FRL, the stock exchange filing said.

On 29 August last year, debt-laden Future Group announced the sale of its retail and wholesale assets to RIL’s subsidiaries for ₹24,713 crore, prompting Amazon to approach the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) on grounds that its investment agreement with Future Coupons Pvt. Ltd, a Biyani firm, bars FRL from selling its assets to RIL. An SIAC emergency order blocked the sale, triggering a legal battle in India between Amazon and Future regarding the enforceability of the order. Since then, the Singapore tribunal has heard both parties, and a final order is expected in the next two weeks.

In August, the Supreme Court upheld the Singapore emergency arbitrator’s order blocking Mukesh Ambani-led RIL’s acquisition of Future Group’s assets.

A Supreme Court bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and B.R. Gavai ruled that the 25 October 2020 order by SIAC is enforceable under Section 17(2) of India’s Arbitration Act.

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