Companies

Amazon, Future out-of-court settlement talks collapse 

Forum Gandhi | | Updated on: Mar 16, 2022
A scooter outside a Reliance Smart Bazaar retail store, which was previously a Future Retail Big Bazaar outlet in Mumbai

A scooter outside a Reliance Smart Bazaar retail store, which was previously a Future Retail Big Bazaar outlet in Mumbai

SC had given both parties time till March 15 to arrive at a solution 

The talks between Amazon and Future Group to find an amicable solution to their ongoing dispute have collapsed with no agreement on how to proceed further.

Earlier this month, Amazon and Future Group had agreed to find an out-of-court settlement. The Supreme Court had given both time till March 15.

On Tuesday, the counsels of Amazon, Future Retail Ltd (FRL), and Future Coupons submitted that negotiations and talks for settlement had closed without headway.

Amazon ads

As a precursor to the disclosure in the court, Amazon ran an advertisement in newspapers saying that the actions by Future Group and Reliance Retail were “done in a clandestine manner by playing a fraud on the constitutional courts in India.” The advertisement was in response to Reliance Retail taking over the lease agreements of stores operated by Future Retail.

Lease takeover

Amazon highlighted that FRL was giving away assets in contravention to the award of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and SC’s earlier order.

Recently, Future Group had informed stock exchanges that Reliance had taken over the lease agreement of over 400 stores and converted Future Retail stores to Reliance Retail stores.

According to sources, the SC questioned FRL on how they could give the stores to Reliance when the dispute was still being heard. The CJI further asked FRL that if it wanted a quick resolution, why did it stop the arbitration.

Lenders notice

On Tuesday, lenders to the Future Group also issued a public notice to secure their interests in the company’s assets as stores had changed hands. Bank of India, the top lender to Future Retail, claimed charge over the company’s assets. The bank said Future Retail has borrowed from a group of what are classified as senior lenders.

Hence, Bank of India, representing the lenders, said the Future Group’s assets are still charged to its lenders, and warned the public against dealing with the company’s assets.

“Any person dealing with them can be subject to enforcement action by the lenders,” it said. The lenders have also written to the market regulator SEBI seeking action against Future’s move to surrender the store lease agreements to Reliance as it destroyed the company’s value.

Published on March 15, 2022
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