Jan 11, 2021
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Amazon files appeal with Indian court in Future Retail dispute -source

Jan 11, 2021

Amazon.com Inc has filed an appeal with an Indian court in an ongoing dispute against local partner Future Group’s plan to sell its retail assets to Reliance Industries, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Future Group, which operates supermarkets and high-end food stores across India, agreed to sell its retail assets to oil-to-clothes conglomerate Reliance in August for $3.4 billion but Amazon has alleged the deal breached agreements Future had made with the U.S. company in 2019.

The outcome of the dispute has implications for the future shape of India’s retail landscape, especially in deciding who will have an upper hand in the groceries market expected to be worth around $740 billion a year by 2024.

Amazon also took Future to a Singapore arbitrator, which passed an interim order in October saying the Reliance deal should be halted. The Indian retailer has maintained that order is not binding and has instead mounted another legal challenge in a New Delhi court.

In December, the Indian court left it to regulators to decide the fate of Future Group’s retail deal with Reliance, but allowed Amazon to raise objections to the sale.

In its appeal, Amazon is arguing that certain observations made by the judge in relation to the terms of the U.S. company’s 2019 agreement with Future were inconsistent with the Singapore arbitrator’s order, which favoured Amazon, the source said.

The source also said Amazon is arguing in its appeal that this has allowed Future to effectively bypass the arbitration order. The appeal is due to be heard on Jan. 13.

Future Group and Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The appeal comes after Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani told Reuters in an interview over the weekend he expects swift regulatory approval for the deal.

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