Supreme Court To Hear Amazon’s Plea Against Lifting Future-Reliance Deal Status Quo

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Amazon.com Inc’s petition against a Delhi High Court order vacating the status quo on Future Retail Ltd.’s close to Rs 27,000-crore deal with Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice RF Nariman and BR Gavai issued notice on the plea. The bench also allowed the National Company Law Tribunal to continue its proceedings on the scheme of arrangement related to the transaction but asked it not to pass any final orders.

The NCLT on Feb. 12 had reserved its order on Future Group’s plea to hold shareholders meeting and seek their approval for consolidation of its entities—the first step in its ultimate sale to Reliance Retail.

Separately, the Delhi High Court division bench in an interim order on Feb. 8 had stayed the “operation, implementation and execution” of a single-judge Feb. 2 order that put the transaction on hold.

The high court’s two-judge bench had said:

  • The appellant (Future Retail) is not a party to the agreement between Amazon and Future Coupons Pvt.

  • In an agreement between Reliance Retail and Future Retail, Amazon is not a party.

  • Prima facie, the three agreements are different and, therefore, “groups of companies doctrine” can’t be invoked.

  • Referring to the relevant agreement clause, the bench prima facie said Amazon has no intent to take control of Future Retail and thus there was no reason to seek a status quo order before the single judge.

Amazon then moved the Supreme Court. The case is likely to come up after five weeks.

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