A Singapore arbitration panel has declined Future Retail’s plea to revoke an order from last year that put its $3.4 billion deal with Reliance on hold, in a lift for its partner Amazon.com Inc which is attempting to obstruct the transaction.
Amazon has been barred in a brawl with Future and challenges it of infringing contracts when it sold its retail assets to Indian market leader Reliance last year. Future disclaims any wrongdoing. After the Singapore arbitrator put the deal on hold in October 2020 in an interim decision, Future requested to revoke it. The panel has denied that application, Future said in a statement to Indian stock exchanges on Friday.
“The arbitration tribunal has passed a decision dismissing the application to vacate the interim award,” Future’s statement said. “The Company would be deciding on its future course of action based on the legal advice and available remedies in law.”
The controversy began after Future, India’s second-largest retailer with over 1,700 stores, joined into a deal last year to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics, and other businesses to Reliance after COVID-19 hit its operations hard.
Amazon had its eyes on eventually owning some of Future’s retail assets itself. It has fought a 2019 deal with a Future unit that included clauses preventing the Indian group from selling its retail holdings to anyone on a “restricted persons” list that included Reliance.
Amazon brought proceedings against Future before a Singapore arbitration panel, and the dispute is also being fought in various Indian legal forums.