Amazon has been contesting the sale of Future Group's retail assets to Reliance.
Talks between Amazon.com Inc and Future Retail aimed at resolving a long-running dispute over whether Future's retail assets can be sold to Reliance Industries (RIL) have failed, lawyers for the companies told the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Both Amazon and Future said they would like to resume arbitration proceedings in Singapore that had been put on hold by the Delhi High Court. The top court will hear the matter on Wednesday. Amazon has also accused Future Retail and RIL of "fraud". In a notice published in the newspapers, Amazon warned the founders of Future Retail that any effort to transfer its assets to RIL would be liable for civil and criminal consequences.
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"Absolutely no headway in the talks for settlement between Amazon, Future Group and Reliance on the assets of Future Retail. Sometimes we are very hopeful, but the ultimate result is nothing. Future Group is giving away its stores to Reliance despite the ongoing litigation," Amazon told the Supreme Court.
Future Retail denied the accusations and said, "Amazon is driving us to our knees. We are broke. Shop takeover started 15 days ago. We have no control. Reliance is taking action despite the ongoing litigation. Reliance is taking over. We can't do anything."
In newspaper ads, the U.S. giant said the transfer of Future Retail's assets to RIL violated the binding orders of an arbitration tribunal and is against the submissions made before the Supreme Court. The assets would remain with Future Retail until the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved a merger with Mr Ambani's conglomerate, Amazon added.
The move comes as billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led group took control of some Future Group stores.
Future Group - which has more than 1,700 outlets, including popular Big Bazaar stores - has been unable to make lease payments for a bulk of its outlets.
Future has said in filings that it could not pay rent at many outlets given its distressed financial situation and that Reliance, which had taken over many of its leases, had issued it with termination notices.
With landlords insisting on payments or shutting down of stores, RIL transferred the leases of some stores to its name and sublet them to Future to operate the stores. RIL also offered all the 30,000 employees of Future Retail jobs.
Amazon has argued that Future violated the terms of a 2019 deal the companies signed when the U.S. e-commerce giant invested $200 million in a Future Group unit. Amazon's position has been backed by a Singapore arbitrator.
In August 2020, Future proposed to sell its retail, wholesale and logistics arms that included businesses, including Fashion at Big Bazaar, Koryo, Foodhall and Easyday, to Reliance for Rs 24,713 crore.
Amazon has been contesting the sale of Future Group's retail assets to Mr Ambani's Reliance group. The case is currently before the Supreme Court.