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SEBI approves Reliance Retail–Future Group deal, with caveats

The Securities and Exchange Board of India has given its go-ahead for Reliance Retail’s acquisition of Future Retail Limited’s retail, logistics and warehousing entities, according to a letter sent to Future Retail by the Bombay Stock Exchange. This is one of several more clearances that the deal, valued at ₹24,713 crore, will require before it is finalized. Shareholders and the National Company Law Tribunal will have to okay the deal as well.

The deal is facing resistance from Amazon, which obtained an arbitration order from the Singapore International Arbitration Centre last year putting the transaction on hold, claiming an earlier investment it made in a promoter entity of Future gave it the option of vetoing this deal. However, Reliance and Future Retail have been moving ahead, fighting against Amazon’s claim in court, even as it insists to regulators that the company’s claims have no merit. The Delhi High Court ruled recently that staying Amazon’s objections was not necessary, and that relevant regulators could make their own assessments of the situation.

Conditions for SEBI approval

SEBI specified the following conditions for its nod, and the BSE also gave its provisional no-objection-letter to the deal on the following terms. Some conditions are listed below. Emphasis supplied by MediaNama.

  1. Proceedings before SEBI have to be highlighted to the NCLT.
  2. Amazon’s complaints and court cases have to be notified to shareholders and NCLT.
  3. Before NCLT approval, any future disputes should be duly disclosed.
  4. “The Company shall ensure that applicable information pertaining to unlisted companies– Futurebazaar India Limited, Acute Retail Infra Private Limited, Basuti Sales and Trading Private Limited, Brattle Foods Private Limited, Chirag Operating Lease Co. Private Limited, Hare Krishna Operating Lease Private Limited, Nice Texcot Trading & Agency Private Limited, Nishta Mall Management Company Private Limited, Ojas Tradelease and Mall Management Private Limited, Precision Realty Developers Private Limited, Rivaaz Trade Ventures Private Limited, Syntex Trading & Agency Private Limited, Taquito Lease Operators Private Limited, Unique Malls Private Limited, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited and Reliance Retail and Fashions Lifestyle Limited is included in the abridged prospectus as per the specified format.”
  5. “The Company should ensure that suitable disclosure about the latest financials of the companies involved in the Scheme being not more than 6 months old is done before filing the same with the Hon’ble National Company Law Tribunal.”

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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