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Future Retail’s Plea On Its Reliance Deal Opposed By Amazon Rejected By Arbitration Panel

Future Retail’s Plea On Its Reliance Deal Opposed By Amazon Rejected By Arbitration Panel
A plea with a Singapore arbitration panel by India’s Future Retail to annual an order that was passed last year that suspended a $3.4 billion deal of the company with Reliance was rejected recently.
The opposing party of the deal, Amazon, would be boosted by this decision of the panel. The global e-retailing firm is a partner of Future Retail and had been seeking cancellation of the deal. Amazon alleged that Future Retail had broken contracts it had with it when last year, the latter sold off its retail assets to Indian market leader Reliance. Such allegations against it have been rejected by Future Retail.
In an interim order in October 2020, the deal was temporarily on hold by the Singapore arbitrator put, following which an appeal to revoke that order was filed by Future Retail.  
That appeal has been rejected by the arbitration panel, said Future Retail in a statement to Indian stock exchanges earlier this week.
"The arbitration tribunal has passed a decision dismissing the application to vacate the interim award," Future's statement said. "The Company would be deciding on its future course of action based on the legal advice and available remedies in law."
The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 hit hard the retail business of Future Retail, which has more than 1,700 stores in India and is the second-largest retailer in the country. The business impact from the pandemic pushed that company last year to sell off its retail, wholesale, logistics, and certain other businesses to Reliance, India’s largest conglomerate, last year. that was the genesis of the legal tussle between Future Retail and Amazon.
The United States-based e-retailer is a partner of Future Retail and was reported to have had its eyes on ultimately taking some of Future's retail assets itself.
In the legal tussle, Amazon has pointed out to a 2019 deal that it had struck with Future Retail which had clauses that prevented the Indian group to sell off its retail business to anyone on a "restricted persons" list – which incidentally also included Reliance. So effectively under that clause in the agreement, Future Retail could not have had the deal with Reliance.
A case was filed by Amazon against Future Retail before a Singapore arbitration panel alleging its Indian partner had violated that agreement. The two companies are also engaged in legal tussles in a number of Indian legal forums.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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