Reliance-Future’s $3.4-Billion Deal Cleared by CCI Despite Amazon’s Objections

Reliance-Future’s $3.4-Billion Deal Cleared by CCI Despite Amazon’s Objections

Reliance Industries agreed to buy Future Group’s retail assets under the $3.4 billion deal

Antitrust body Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday cleared conglomerate Reliance Industries’ $3.4 billion (or Rs. 24,713 crores) deal to buy Future Group’s retail assets, thwarting Amazon.com’s efforts to block the deal.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) announced its decision in a tweet on Friday, with details likely to be made public later.

Amazon had approached the CCI and market regulator SEBI alleging the deal would violate some pre-existing agreements it had with Future Group.

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Last month, Amazon won an injunction from a Singapore arbitrator to halt the deal pending arbitration.

Amazon, Future, and Reliance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the deal is yet to receive approval of stock exchanges and market regulator SEBI, the three companies are now embroiled in a legal battle at the Delhi High Court over the transaction.

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An antitrust lawyer said the CCI only looks into competition issues around a deal and is not concerned with other disputes between parties.

“It’s (CCI) not a regulator which approves the transaction as such,” the lawyer said.

Amazon says its 2019 deal with a Future Group subsidiary included clauses saying it could not sell its retail assets to certain parties, including Reliance.

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Future has argued it entered into the deal with Reliance because its retail business was severely hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and it was critical to protect all its stakeholders.

The dispute has put Amazon at odds not just with Future Retail – one of country’s top retailers – but also with Ambani’s Reliance Group which is fast expanding its e-commerce business and threatening the dominance of the US giant.

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