The Securities and Exchange Board of India on Wednesday approved Reliance Retail’s acquisition of retail assets of the Future Group.
In August, the Future Group, led by Kishore Biyani, had agreed to enter into a Rs 24,713 crore deal with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail. Under the agreement, the Future Group will sell its wholesale, logistics, retail, and warehouse businesses to Ambani’s company.
The Bombay Stock Exchange, in its statement, said it had “no adverse observations with limited reference to those matters having a bearing on listing/de-listing/continuous listing requirements within the provisions of Listing Agreement, so as to enable the company to file the scheme with the Hon’ble NCLT [National Company Law Tribunal]”.
The announcement came as a setback to American e-commerce company Amazon, which had invested Rs 1,400 crore in Future Coupons Pvt Limited, a gifting arm of the group. On October 25, Amazon won an interim order against Reliance Industries’ Rs 24,713 crore deal to buy the retail business of Future Group. The order by a Singapore-based arbitration panel had asked the Future group to put the deal on hold.
Following the development, Amazon had written to Indian market regulator SEBI, the stock exchanges and the Competition Commission of India, urging them to take into consideration the Singapore arbitrator’s interim decision as it was a binding order. Future Retail had then filed a lawsuit against Amazon.
On Wednesday, SEBI said that Future retail would have to make sure that the details of Amazon’s complaints and the details of the proceedings in the Delhi High Court were disclosed to the stakeholders. The same information should also be brought to NCLT’s notice while filing of the draft scheme of the approval.
“Company shall ensure that any future disputes, complaints, regulatory actions or proceedings, or orders issued therein involving the draft scheme if any, shall be brought to the notice of shareholders prior to the approval by NCLT,” the statement read.
The market regulator also noted that the company has been “advised that the observations of SEBI/Stock Exchanges shall be incorporated in the petition to be filed before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the Company is obliged to bring the observations to the notice of NCLT.”
On November 11, the Delhi High Court sought e-commerce major Amazon’s response on a plea by the Kishore Biyani-led company, alleging that the company was interfering in its deal with Reliance Retail on the basis of an interim order by a Singapore arbitrator. Amazon had in 2019 moved an arbitration before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, which gave it an interim stay on the deal.
At 12.26 pm, shares of the Reliance Industries Limited traded at 2,115.95 or 2.98% higher than the previous closing. Future Retail Limited was trading at 80.65 or 4.94% higher on the Sensex.