Reliance Seeks Shareholders’ Approval For Rs 24,000 Crore Big Bazaar, Future Group Acquisition

Amazon's counsel argued that any step towards the Reliance-Future deal prejudices Amazon and violates the US-based retailer's rights.
Amazon’s counsel argued that any step towards the Reliance-Future deal prejudices Amazon and violates the US-based retailer’s rights.

Reliance Retail Ventures has reportedly asked National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for permission to hold a shareholders’ meet to consider and approve its Rs 24,715-crore deal with Future Retail.

On Wednesday, the Mumbai bench of NCLT reserved its order over the application moved by the step-down firms of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

“The court (NCLT) has reserved the order. It will pass it on June 21,” said senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, who represented Reliance in the matter before the tribunal.

The Deal Between Future Group And Reliance.

According to Dwarkadas, Reliance Retail and Reliance Fashion applied to hold meetings of their respective members and creditors to discuss the scheme by which the Future Group’s retail, logistics, and warehousing businesses would be merged into these Reliance entities.

Future Group announced on August 29, 2020, that it would sell its retail and wholesale division to Reliance Retail for Rs 24,713 crore.

Reliance Retail Seeks NCLT Nod For A Shareholder Meeting

The deal, which is being contested by Amazon, is facing legal hurdles. A decision by the Supreme Court is pending over a petition filed by the US-based e-commerce major.

According to CNBC TV18, Reliance Industries’ counsel Janak Dwarkadas said before the tribunal’s Mumbai bench that Reliance and its subsidiaries are neither parties to the Supreme Court-pending legal dispute between Amazon and Future nor the arbitration proceedings by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

He further argued that the Supreme Court has allowed NCLT proceedings to continue but not culminate in a final order.

Reliance stated that the legal proceedings involving Amazon and Future did not stop the Mukesh Ambani-led company from seeking its shareholders’ approval for the deal as the final verdict will come from Supreme Court.

The Violation Of The Contract Between Future Group And Reliance.

Meanwhile, Amazon contested the plea on grounds that NCLT hearings are illegal if the award by the emergency arbitrator in Singapore persists, as there is no stay on this order.

Amazon’s counsel argued that any step towards the Reliance-Future deal prejudices Amazon and violates the US-based retailer’s rights.

Next Date To Hear Reliance Retail’s And Future Retail’s Matter

Reliance’s request to host a shareholders’ meeting has been put on hold by the NCLT bench. The tribunal has scheduled a hearing for Reliance Retail and Future Retail’s composite scheme on June 21.

Amazon and Reliance have also been requested to submit written submissions by May 24 evening.

Future Group had announced the Rs 24,713-crore deal to sell its retail and wholesale assets to Reliance retail on August 29, 2020.

Amazon And Future Group Have Been Locked In A Bitter Legal Tussle!

The US e-commerce giant dragged Future Group to arbitration at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), alleging that the latter had breached their contract by entering into the deal with rival Reliance Industries.

Amazon, which had bought a 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons in 2019 for Rs 1,500 crore said its deal with Future prevents Biyani’s company from selling shares of Future Retail to RIL as it indirectly owned about 3.5 per cent stake in Future Retail.

The apex court has deferred the hearing on the dispute between Amazon and Future group till June 28 to take up more pressing matters in light of the second COVID-19 wave.

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