Future Retail Wants Amazon Arbitration Ruled Illegal


Indian department store chain Future Retail recently asked a New Delhi court to declare its arbitration proceedings with Amazon in Singapore illegal, saying India’s antitrust agency had suspended a 2019 deal that Amazon used to assert its power over Future before it was factored into the arbitration.

Amazon used its $200 million investment in Future to block the retailer from selling its assets to a rival company, which Amazon claimed was a breach of some of its contracts with Future, according to a Reuters report.

The Competition Commission of India had suspended Amazon’s 2019 deal with Future in December, saying the retail behemoth had suppressed information while seeking approvals for the agreement.

The arbitration between Amazon and Future is being heard by a panel in Singapore, but both sides have also been waging legal war in India to press for enforcement or overruling on certain decisions taken by the arbitrator.

Future Retail most recently argued in New Delhi that, since its 2019 deal with Amazon isn’t backed by the Competition Commission of India, it has “no legal existence” in India, meaning Amazon can’t use it to defend its stance.

The “continuation of the entire arbitration proceedings is a perpetuation of illegality,” Future said in its filing dated Dec. 31, according to the Reuters report, noting the case is likely to be heard Monday (Jan. 3).

Related: Future Retail Feels Financial Momentum

Last month, the Competition Commission of India said plans by Reliance Industries Ltd. to buy Future don’t violate a 2019 agreement between Amazon and Future.

Amazon had argued that billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s move to buy Future violates the 2019 agreement between the companies.

Bloomberg last month reported India-based grocery firm More Retail, which is backed in part by Amazon, may go public in its native land by the middle of 2022 with a valuation of $5 billion. More Retail plans to raise $500 million through the sale of new shares.

Witzig Advisory Services Pvt. acquired More Retail in 2019 from Aditya Birla Group, and Amazon bought 49% of Witzig in November. More Retail has 600 retail stores across the U.S., including supermarkets and big box-style hypermarkets.