Future Group moves Delhi High Court seeking stay on Singapore arbitrator’s order

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In a recent development in the Amazon-Future battle, Future Group has moved the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on the October 21 order passed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the company informed in a regulatory filing on October 27.

The Singapore-based emergency arbitrator SIAC last week had rejected Future Group’s appeal to vacate its stay on the company’s deal with Reliance passed in October last year. SIAC had also held that Future Retail is a party to the matter between Amazon and Future Group, rejecting its (Future Retail’s) request to be excluded from the arbitration proceedings.

Future Group has now moved the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on the SIAC’s order. The company has also appealed to the Delhi High Court to allow the company to conduct the meeting of shareholders and creditors as directed by NCLT’s Mumbai bench in September.

“FCPL and the promoters have also filed an appeal before the Delhi High Court seeking to set aside the said Impugned Order dated 21 October, 2021,” the company informed.

The National Company Law Tribunal’s (NCLT) Mumbai Bench earlier in September had given a go-ahead to the Kishore Biyani-led Future Group to hold meetings of its shareholders and creditors for its proposed deal with Reliance Retail. While Amazon had filed an intervention application to the bench, it was dismissed by the bench. The bench said that Amazon’s objection was premature and hence rejected it. NCLT also clarified that the Supreme Court had only restrained it from passing any final verdict in the matter.

Amazon and Future Group are embroiled in legal battles since the latter entered into an agreement with Reliance Retail to sell its retail assets for Rs 24,713 crore in 2020. The deal, however, has faced several roadblocks since then given e-commerce behemoth Amazon’s objection to it. Amazon contests the deal claiming that a prior agreement with the Future Group entitled the company to pick up a stake in Future Retail at a later date. Amazon in 2018 had bought a 49 percent stake in unlisted Future Coupons Private Limited. Subsequently, Amazon had moved to the Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator to block the deal.

The Supreme Court of India in August gave a verdict upholding the validity of the Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator’s award in India. Later on, on September 9, Amazon had approached the Delhi High Court seeking implementation of the emergency arbitrator’s award. However, the Supreme Court intervened, on Future Group’s appeal, and ordered a stay on the proceedings of the ongoing Amazon-Future Retail case before the Delhi High Court for the next four weeks.

The apex court also directed the NCLT, Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to not pass any order on the matter.

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