SG arbitration panel rejects Future’s plea on Reliance deal in dispute with Amazon

Future Group chairman Kishore Biyani. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

A Singapore arbitration panel has rejected Future Retail’s plea to quash an order from last year that put its $3.4 billion deal with Reliance on hold, in a boost for its partner Amazon.com Inc which is seeking to block the transaction.

Amazon has been locked in a tussle with Future and accuses it of breaking contracts when it sold its retail assets to Indian market leader Reliance last year. Future denies any wrongdoing.

After the Singapore arbitrator put the deal on hold in October 2020 in an interim decision, Future had appealed to revoke it. The panel has rejected that application, Future said in a statement to Indian stock exchanges on Friday.

“The arbitration tribunal has passed a decision dismissing the application to vacate the interim award,” Future’s statement said. “The Company would be deciding on its future course of action based on the legal advice and available remedies in law.”

The dispute started after Future, India’s second-largest retailer with over 1,700 stores, entered into a deal last year to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and certain other businesses to Reliance, after COVID-19 hit its operations hard.

Amazon had its sights on ultimately owning some of Future’s retail assets itself. It has argued a 2019 deal it had with a Future unit contained clauses prohibiting the Indian group from selling its retail assets to anyone on a “restricted persons” list that included Reliance.

Amazon brought proceedings against Future before a Singapore arbitration panel, and the dispute is also being fought in various Indian legal forums.

Reuters

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.

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.