Amazon’s India unit moves High Court against antitrust probe

Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in Manhattan, New York, U.S., January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files

Amazon.com’s India unit filed a writ petition in the Karnataka high court on Monday seeking a stay on the probe ordered by the country’s antitrust regulator against the company for alleged violations of competition law.

In its petition, Amazon said that the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order was passed “without application of mind” and would cause irreparable loss to the reputation of the company if an investigation is allowed.

The CCI order on 14 January came a day before Amazon founder Jeff Bezos arrived in India to attend a meeting with small business owners, where he pledged to invest an additional $1 billion to get such companies online. CCI said it would probe alleged malpractices such as offering of deep discounts, preferred listings, promotion of private labels and exclusive partnerships with phone brands.

The increasing scrutiny on Amazon comes amid Indian traders and small store owners protesting against online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart-controlled Flipkart over alleged predatory practices that they claim have hurt sales and eroded margins. For Amazon, India is the most important overseas market and it has committed over $5 billion in the country.

On Monday, Amazon submitted that an “interim stay on the proceedings must be granted as the balance of convenience for stay lies in favour of the petitioner as a bona fide company”.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment saying “the matter is sub judice”. An email seeking CCI’s response remained unanswered.

Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of Confederation of All India Traders, a traders’ body that has led the protests against Amazon, questioned its motive for opposing the probe. “Let the investigation be conducted by CCI, which will make their position clear. The stay application by Amazon is testimony to the fact that something is wrong with its business model.”

The CCI order followed a complaint filed by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM). Khandelwal said since a caveat has been filed by DVM in court, Amazon will not be able to get an immediate stay.

This article was first published on livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.