NSE privately warned Future Retail to not make disclosure over Amazon dispute

According to Reuters, India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE) privately warned Future Retail that it risked regulatory action for not making timely market disclosures about efforts by Amazon to block a disputed asset sale via emails.

Future Retail, one of the country’s top retailers is involved in a bitter dispute with Amazon over its $3.4 billion retail assets deal with Reliance Industries. Amazon who is a business partner of Future group argues that the Indian firm’s asset sale breached some of their pre-existing agreements.


The Future Group denies the allegations made by Amazon to stock exchanges of the misleading public by making incorrect market disclosures.

On October 25, Amazon won an injunction from an arbitrator to halt the Future-Reliance deal, that is when the complaint was registered.

Unreported e-mails exchanged between the NSE and Future reveal that the stock exchange repeatedly requested the company to submit more details of the arbitration order, seeking details of the possible impact on financials, lenders and the Reliance deal.

NSE asked Future group on October 27, why it had not disclosed the commencement of the arbitration proceedings and not shared the impact of the order to which Future responded by stating they believed a disclosure wasn’t required.

NSE’s listing compliance division rejected that argument. It demanded a series of disclosures be made within hours, “failing which appropriate actions may be initiated”, the emails showed.

Virendra Samani, Chief Legal & Company Secretary at Future Group responded to NSE’s queries in a late-night e-mail made on October 30, stating they were doing so “in the best interest of all stakeholders”, the communications reveal.

Two days later in a six-page exchange filed by Future, the responses were made public on directions of the NSE.

Earlier, Future had only submitted a disclosure on October 26 in which they attached a media release saying it would ensure its deal with Reliance proceeded unhindered and that it was reviewing the arbitration order.

The dispute will now be settled in the Delhi High Court, where Future Retail has urged the court to stop Amazon from writing letters to regulators to block its Reliance deal, which is pending approvals from the market regulator and stock exchanges. The judge is expected to rule on the plea in the coming days.

Amazon had separately asked India’s market regulator to investigate Future for insider trading, saying it disclosed to Reliance price-sensitive details of the arbitration order before its exchange filing in late October.

Future tagged their communications with Reliance saying it was for “legitimate purpose”.

Virendra Samani declined the request, stating in an e-mail that the order was “confidential in nature” and sharing further information could be “detrimental” to the company. A copy was provided following NSE’s warning.

On November 20, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday approved the Future Group-Reliance Retail deal.

In a brief statement, the CCI tweeted, “Commission approves acquisition of retail, wholesale, logistics & warehousing businesses of Future Group by Reliance Retail Ventures Limited and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited.”