India’s market regulator approves RIL-Future Group deal in set back for Amazon

Birds rest on the logo of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/Files

In a setback to Amazon Inc., the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Wednesday granted approval to the Future Group and Reliance Retail deal.

In August 2020, Kishore Biyani led-Future Group had entered into a 24,713 crore agreement with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail. As part of the deal, Future Group was to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics, and warehouse businesses to Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL).

Amazon had on 14 January, in its eighth letter over the past three months to Sebi, asked the regulator to suspend its review of the Future-Reliance deal and not grant a no-objection certification on the ground that its challenge to the agreement was before the Delhi High Court.

In its letter of approval, Sebi listed a number of conditions in accordance to the Composite Scheme of Arrangement, also making a reference to apprehensions raised by Amazon.

“Company shall ensure that the shares of the transferee entity issued in lieu of the locked-in shares of the transferor entities is subjected to lock-in for the remaining period post scheme,” Sebi stated.

“Company shall ensure that proceedings pending before SEBI against the entities part of the promoter/promoter group or are directors of the companies involved in the scheme, should be highlighted in the scheme document filed before National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT),” it further added.

On December 21, Amazon Inc had also filed a plea before the Delhi High Court, seeking a stay on the Future-Reliance deal.

SEBI, while referring to the complaints registered by Amazon and the plea filed in Delhi HC, has asked the entities involved in the amalgamation to keep their shareholders informed about the legal dispute.

“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,” it added.

“In light of the above, we hereby advise that we have 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 Hon’ble NCLT,” Sebi added.

The 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.