On Monday, the New Delhi High Court terminated a petition from Future Group that wanted to restrain US partner Amazon.com Inc from intruding in its $3.4-billion asset sale to Reliance Industries. In August, Future Group sold its retail assets to Reliance Industries in a deal. As per Amazon, the deal breached contracts Future made in 2019 with the US ecommerce leader. Amazon had won a ruling in October to stop the sale from a Singapore mediator that the parties had settled to use in case of dispute. Later, Future Group stated that the ruling was not binding. This led Amazon to lodge a complaint with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
Future Group has been in news for changing the country’s retail sector in recent decades. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has had such repercussions on the business that its founder Kishore Biyani had to look for a buyer. Last month, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) gave its approval to Future’s sale of its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing businesses to billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance. In today’s order, the court held that the suit filed by Future Group unit Future Retail was workable and its resolution permitting the transaction with Reliance was also legal.
Nevertheless, the order also observed that Amazon cannot be stopped from writing to regulators on account of possibly irreparable damage. Over the next four years, India’s retail sector is likely to grow 46 per cent to a yearly $1.3 trillion. According to a Forrester Research, the main battle is over groceries, probably worth around $740 billion a year by 2024.