Reliance Retail pushes on with Future Group $3.4 bn acquisition despite Amazon protests

India’s largest retail chain Reliance Retail has stated its proposal to acquire Future Group’s assets for $3.4 billion is fully enforceable under Indian laws.

On Sunday Reliance said that it plans to complete the deal “without any delay”, despite Amazon wining an emergency order from a Singapore arbitration court earlier in the day.

Reliance Industries is controlled by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, who also owns Hamleys in the UK.

READ MORE: Reliance Retail could sell Amazon 26% stake as the retailer pushes into India

Future Group is an Indian conglomerate specialising in supermarket chains, FMCG and discount stores.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the injunction is believed to prevent Future Group from selling its assets to Reliance Retail by around 90 days, Tech Crunch reported.

Amazon is believed to have reached out to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre earlier this month to block what could become the largest retail deal in India.

The US commerce giant bought a 3.58 per cent stake in Future Group’s Future Retail earlier this year, giving it first right to refusal on purchase of more stakes in Future Retail.

Local media cited by Tech Crunch reported that the agreement between Amazon and Future Retail also included a non-compete clause.

The two companies entered an additional deal early this year that granted Amazon “long-term” rights to sell Future Group’s products online.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said the company was “grateful for the order which grants all the reliefs that were sought. We remain committed to an expeditious conclusion of the arbitration process.”

The tribunal hearings are expected to start later this year.

However, it is unclear whether the injunction is enforceable in India, with a Reliance Industry spokesperson saying that Reliance Retail’s transaction for acquisition of assets and business of Future Retail were conducted under “proper legal advice” and the “rights and obligations are fully enforceable under Indian law.”

Reliance Retail “intends to enforce its rights and complete the transaction in terms of the scheme and agreement with Future group without any delay,” said the spokesperson for the retail giant.



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