reliance retail: Future, Amazon set to mull truce, may go for out-of-court settlement

reliance retail: Future, Amazon set to mull truce, may go for out-of-court settlement


Future Group and Amazon are likely to start negotiations for a possible out-of-court settlement of a year-long legal standoff over the proposed sale of Future Group assets to Reliance Retail once the Singapore arbitrator gives its initial rulings later this month, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is to decide whether BSE-listed Future Retail Ltd (FRL) should be a party to the arbitration.

Future Group had also asked the arbitration centre to vacate its October 2020 stay.


Financial Compensation

The stay restrained Future from going ahead with the Reliance Retail deal until a final outcome on Amazon’s challenge.

“The outcome of the SIAC initial orders will decide which way the wind could blow,” said one of the persons cited above.

He added that possible talks between Future and Amazon could be on how to financially compensate Amazon for its minority stake in a promoter company of FRL, so one of the country’s largest retail deals can go through unhindered.

“It could pave the way for negotiations between the two companies for a settlement, rather than letting it linger further,” said the person cited above.

future

The ecommerce giant said it has always wanted to discuss matters with Future. “Amazon has consistently offered to assist FRL during the economic downturn caused by Covid-19 and reiterated our openness for a dialogue, even during the Delhi High Court hearings,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an email response.

Future Group did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The Faster the Better

In the event of non-negotiation between the two groups, the SIAC final ruling could spill over well into 2022, as the Centre is only expected to start hearing on the actual arbitration in November or December, sources said. A delay in the arbitration process could be detrimental to Future Group, which is laden with debt and facing a cash crunch, analysts said.



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