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Future Retail must take part in arbitration process with Amazon, rules Singapore court

The Singapore arbitration center’s order rejecting Future Retail’s plea is only the beginning of a long road ahead.

In a win for Amazon, an arbitration court in Singapore on October 20 rejected Future Retail's plea to be excluded from the ongoing dispute with Amazon. The court said that Future Retail is a party to the agreements signed between Amazon and Future Coupons and must participate in the arbitration process. As a result of this ruling, Reliance's acquisition of Future Retail continues to be on hold. Recap: In August 2020, Reliance announced it will buy most of Future Group’s retail, wholesale, and logistics business in a deal worth Rs 24,713 crore, but Amazon, which held a 49 percent equity in Future Coupons, the promoter entity of Future Retail, accused Future Retail of breach of contract and slapped it with a legal notice. Amazon said that it had a non-compete-like pact and right of first refusal against deals with competitors like Reliance. On October 25, Amazon obtained a stay order on the Future–Reliance deal from an emergency arbitrator appointed by the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC). Future Retail filed an appeal with SIAC arguing that Amazon’s agreements were with the various promoters of Future Retail and not Future Retail itself and it also filed a petition with the Delhi High Court arguing the emergency arbitrator’s order does not have jurisdiction in India. Eventually, the Delhi High Court and then the Supreme Court ruled that the emergency arbitrator’s award obtained by Amazon in Singapore can be legally enforced in India. Future Group filed a fresh challenge in Supreme Court against Amazon, and the court stayed all proceedings regarding the Future–Reliance deal for four weeks. What…

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