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.