Despite Amazon’s objection, CCI approves Future Group-Reliance Retail deal

Despite Amazon's objection, CCI approves Future Group-Reliance Retail deal

On Friday, in a huge setback for e-commerce giant Amazon, Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the much-anticipated Future Group-Reliance Retail deal. CCI said in a tweet, “Commission approves acquisition of retail, wholesale, logistics & warehousing businesses of Future Group by Reliance Retail Ventures Limited and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited.” 

In August, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd acquired the businesses of Kishore Biyani’s Future Group for ₹24,713 crore to add to its fast expanding retail business. Reliance Retail will now have access to close to 1,800 stores which are spread in over 420 cities in India.

The retail and wholesale of Future Group will be transferred to the Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited (RRFLL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL). 

Kishore Biyani, Group CEO, Future Group said earlier, “As a result of this reorganisation and transaction, Future Group will achieve a holistic solution to the challenges that have been caused by COVID and the macro-economic environment. This transaction takes into account the interest of all its stakeholders including lenders, shareholders, creditors, suppliers and employees giving continuity to all its businesses”.

Arguing the Indian retailer group breached certain contract provisions it entered into last year in a separate deal with the US firm, the e-commerce giant Amazon, an investor in one of Future’s holding companies, earlier won an injunction from a Singapore arbitrator to halt Future’s deal to sell retail assets to Reliance.

Urging to consider the arbitration order and not approve the deal, Amazon approached market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Stock Exchanges and Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Amazon was not its shareholder and has no say in its affairs and the interim order passed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) was of no value, Future Retail Ltd earlier told the Delhi High Court. It has also taken Amazon to court in an effort to prevent it from sending letters to regulators.

On Friday, the Delhi High Court reserved its order on Future Retail Limited’s plea seeking to restrain Amazon from approaching regulatory bodies against the deal with Reliance’s retail arm, and asked both the parties to file the written submissions by November 23.