Nov 1, 2020
Future Retail says Amazon dispute order not binding on company
Nov 1, 2020
India’s Future Retail Ltd (FRL) said on Sunday that a Singapore arbitrator’s order in its dispute with Amazon.com Inc is not enforceable under Indian law and not binding on the company.
Amazon on Oct. 25 won an injunction from the arbitrator to halt FRL’s deal to sell its retail assets to Reliance Industries for $3.4 billion, arguing the Indian retail group had violated certain pre-existing agreements it had with the U.S. e-commerce giant.
Both FRL and billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance said in news releases later they wanted to press on with the deal without delays, setting the stage for a showdown between the Indian companies and Jeff Bezos-led Amazon.
Calling the proceedings before the so-called “emergency arbitrator” void, FRL told Indian exchanges that any attempt on the part of Amazon to enforce the order will be resisted.
“FRL is also in the process of taking appropriate legal action to protect its rights,” the company’s regulatory filing said on Sunday.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FRL’s filing comes after Reuters on Saturday reported Amazon had separately complained to India’s markets regulator alleging the Indian company had misled shareholders by incorrectly saying it was complying with its contractual obligations, seeking suspension of the deal’s regulatory review.
In its Sunday filing, FRL said it had complied with all regulatory requirements and urged the market regulator and the Indian stock exchanges to continue to review its deal with Reliance for approval.
The dispute centres around FRL’s decision in August to sell its retail, wholesale and some other businesses to Reliance for $3.38 billion, including debt.
Amazon argues that a separate 2019 deal it had with a Future unit had clauses saying the Indian group couldn’t sell its retail assets to anyone on a “restricted persons” list including any firms from Reliance chief Mukesh Ambani’s group.
The deal specified any disputes would be arbitrated under Singapore International Arbitration Centre rules.
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