India’s Future Retail Urges Antitrust Regulator to Revoke Amazon Deal

Future Retail, Amazon

In the latest chapter of a struggle involving an Indian retailer, the independent directors of Future Retail have asked the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s antitrust body, to revoke its approval of a 2019 deal in which Amazon purchased 49% of one of Future Retail’s group companies, Future Coupons, Bloomberg reported Sunday (Nov. 14.)

In a letter sent to CCI earlier this month, Future Retail’s independent director, Ravindra Dhariwal, said Amazon obtained the regulator’s approval for the deal by “making deliberate misrepresentations and by actively misleading the CCI,” according to the report.

With its purchase of the stake in Future Coupons, Amazon obtained an option to buy all or part of its share in Future Retail, the report stated.

Amazon acquired the stake in Future Coupons in August 2019, at which time an Amazon spokesperson said the investment would “enhance Amazon’s existing portfolio of investments in the payments landscape in India.”

Read more: Amazon Takes Stake In India Loyalty/Rewards Platform

At the time, past regulatory filings showed that Future Coupons owned about a 7.3% stake in Future Retail as of early 2019. This deal meant that Amazon owned a 3.58% stake in Future Retail. The deal gave Amazon the right of first refusal to purchase an additional stake in Future Retail both directly and via entities.

An ongoing struggle between the companies included an Aug. 30 report that Amazon asked India’s market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), to withdraw its conditional approval of Future Group’s $3.4 billion assets sale of its retail operation to Reliance Industries.

See more: Amazon Asks India Regulators to Nix Future Group Sale

The 2019 investment deal between Amazon and Future had a provision making it so Amazon could block any assets sale by Future it didn’t approve of. Future’s decision to sell to Reliance anyway was what kicked off the dispute.