NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Future Group expects rapid regulatory approval of a $ 3.4 billion deal to sell its retail assets, its chief executive said, even its wartime trading partner Amazon.com Inc. has stepped up efforts to block the deal.
Future and Amazon are on loggerheads over the Indian group’s August deal with Reliance Industries Limited. The US veteran has alleged that the deal severed some pre-existing contracts with Future.
In December, a New Delhi court rejected a future request to restrict Amazon’s repeated attempts to get authorities to stop the deal. But the judge left the fate of the transaction with regulators.
Kishore Biyani, founder and CEO of Future Group, told Reuters in an interview, “The court has already given its view that every institution can consider a sale”. “So there is no reason for things to be delayed.”
Amazon declined to comment on Biyani’s comment. Reliance did not respond to a request for comment.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the market regulator, which has been reviewing the deal for months, did not respond to a request for comment.
SEBI and India’s stock exchanges may still take or take longer to approve the deal, which is critical to the existence of Future Retail, which has more than 1,700 outlets in the grip of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Future Retail warned that failure to close the deal could lead to liquidation of the company and job losses to more than 29,000 employees.
“We have restored a handful of businesses, but there are challenges,” dubbed India’s retail king in recent decades to change the country’s retail sales.
The future of the dispute is seen as the future, Reliance and Amazon shaping India’s retail landscape, especially in deciding that the groceries market is estimated to be worth about $ 740 billion a year by 2024.
Following Amazon’s 2019 deal with Future Unit, the Indian retailer’s groceries and fashion products are offered for sale on Amazon’s website, while Future Stores also serve as local giants that serve American giants. Serve the food supply chain.
Biyani said he had no intention of changing his business relationship with Amazon, despite the soured relationship. However, criticizing Amazon, Biyani said he was confused as to what Amazon wanted to achieve by blocking its deal.
“I’m disappointed,” he said. “What do they want? They want so many employees to suffer, the business goes down?”
Amazon took Future to a Singapore arbitrator, who passed an interim order in October stating that the Reliance deal should be halted. Although Future says the order is not binding, US e-commerce giants are continuing their efforts to block the deal.
In a letter on Tuesday, Amazon asked the Indian stock market BSE and NSE to postpone their review of the deal in light of the ongoing intermediary arbitration.
To suppress its case, on December 30, Amazon shared a 63-page exchange of legal opinions signed by former Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra. In an opinion seen by Reuters, Mishra said that SEBI or any other statutory authority has not ignored the interim order passed by the arbitrator.
Mishra and NSE did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment. BSE declined to comment.
Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Abhirup Roy in Mumbai; Editing by William Mallard