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CCI urged to revoke nod to Future’s deal with Amazon


NEW DELHI: Independent directors at Future Retail (FRL) have written to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) urging the antitrust watchdog to revoke the approval it had given to the deal between Amazon and unlisted Future Group entity, Future Coupons (FCPL) in November 2019. In the letter dated November 7, the independent directors alleged that Amazon, which is embroiled in a bitter legal battle with FRL over sale of the latter’s assets to Reliance Retail, has concealed information from CCI when it sought approval for the deal. TOI has reviewed a copy of the letter. Amazon had invested around Rs 1,400 crore in FCPL for a 49% stake. FCPL held around 10% stake in FRL, which gave Amazon an indirect stake in the flagship Future Group company. “Amazon sought and obtained the approval of the Commission on the basis that it was investing in the business of FCPL and not on the basis that it was acquiring strategic, material and special rights over FRL in preference to all the shareholders of FRL, which it has claimed with success in the arbitral tribunal now,” the independent directors said in the letter. FRL’s letter comes against the backdrop of Amazon scoring a series of victories in its legal tussle with the Kishore Biyani-led Future Group, parent of supermarket chain, Big Bazaar. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) recently rejected Future Retail’s plea to lift the interim stay on its Rs 24,700-crore asset sale to Reliance Retail, the retail arm of the Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate Reliance Industries. This followed the Singapore tribunal’s ruling to make Future Retail (FRL) party to the dispute arising out of the agreement between Future Coupons (FCPL), an unlisted Future Group entity and Amazon. FRL had argued before SIAC that it was not a party to the agreement signed between FCPL and Amazon. “The Commission should immediately confirm the revocation of the approval granted to Amazon for its investment in FCPL. Time is of the essence and the Commission should act immediately,” the independent FRL directors said.


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