Amazon has asked India’s market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), to withdraw its conditional approval of competitor Future Group’s $3.4 billion assets sale of its retail operation to Reliance Industries, Reuters reported Monday (Aug. 30).
Amazon’s justification is a ruling from India’s Supreme Court saying the interim decision by a Singapore arbitrator from October that put Future’s deal with Reliance on hold is valid and enforceable in India, according to the report.
A 2019 investment deal between Amazon and Future had a provision making it so that Amazon could block any assets sale by Future it didn’t approve of. Future’s decision to sell to Reliance anyway was what kicked off the dispute.
“Amazon requests you to take all such action as is necessary to comply with the Supreme Court Judgment,” the U.S. eCommerce titan wrote in a letter to SEBI Aug. 17, per the report. The letter also urged SEBI to order the withdrawal from stock exchanges, adding that the approval from stock exchanges was “conditional on the outcome of the ongoing proceedings.”
On Saturday (Aug. 28), Future fired back with its own lawsuit against Amazon, seeking to get the court to approve its deal with Reliance. If that doesn’t happen, Future said there could be “thousands” of job losses as well as risk to bank loans, the report stated.
Amazon and Future have been feuding for months over the sale, with Amazon saying Future violated contracts by deciding to sell its retail operation to Reliance. The feud is now seen as one primarily between Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos and Reliance Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani, two of the world’s richest men. The outcome could tip the scales on whether Amazon is able to challenge Reliance’s leadership in India’s almost trillion-dollar retail market.
India’s Supreme Court upheld the ruling earlier this month.
The ruling stated: “It appears that the basic understanding between the parties was that Amazon’s investment in the retail assets of (Future Retail Limited) would continue to vest in (Future Retail Limited), as a result of which (Future Retail Limited) could not transfer its retail assets without (a company partially owned by Amazon’s) consent, which, in turn, could not be granted unless Amazon had provided its consent.”