Reliance to complete Future Group deal, even as arbitrator issues hold order

Reliance to complete Future Group deal, even as arbitrator issues hold order
Photo Credit: VCCircle
26 Oct, 2020

Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL), the retail subsidiary of Reliance Industries (RIL), on Sunday said that it would complete the acquisition of assets of Kishore Biyani-led Future Group under provisions of the Indian law. 

The Mukesh Ambani-led firm made the statement shortly after the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) issued a temporary stay on the deal.

In a statement to the exchanges, RIL said that RRVL was informed of the order passed by the emergency arbitrator in the proceedings invoked by Amazon under a shareholders agreement with the promoters of Future Group. 

“RRVL has entered into the transaction for acquisition of assets and business of Future Retail Limited under proper legal advice and the rights and obligations are fully enforceable under Indian law. RRVL intends to enforce its rights and complete the transaction in terms of the scheme and agreement with Future group without any delay,” the statement said. 

The SIAC’s order on Sunday granted interim relief to ecommerce firm Amazon, which had challenged the $3.38 billion acquisition of Future Group by RRVL

RRVL in August had said that it would acquire the retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing businesses of the Future Group. The latter’s debt-ridden arm, Future Retail, reported losses of Rs 561.95 crore for the quarter ended June 2020, citing adverse impact of the lockdown on the entity that operates retail stores BigBazaar, fbb, Foodhall, EasyDay and Nilgiris.

However, the Jeff Bezos-led firm, which had acquired an indirect stake of 3.6% in Future Retail in 2019, alleged that Future Group had breached its contract with the Seattle headquartered ecommerce giant, which had the right of first refusal for purchase of additional stake as well as a non-compete agreement. 

The interim order by the SIAC reportedly bars Future Group from selling its assets or issuing any securities for funding from a restricted party.