‘Future Retail is direct beneficiary of Amazon’s stake buy in promoter company’

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Amazon has told the Supreme Court that Future Retail was direct beneficiary of the ecommerce giant’s 2019 investment into Future Coupons while arguing that Singapore emergency arbitrator’s award putting on hold the Kishore Biyani flagship’s asset sale to Retail is “valid”.

The top court on Tuesday started hearing on the high-profile legal battle between Amazon and Future Retail (FRL).

Amazon had invested about ₹ 1,500 crore to purchase a 49% stake in Future Coupons (FCPL), a promoter company that owns about 9% stake in Future Retail.

“The purpose of the claimant’s financial collaboration was to strengthen and augment the business of FRL. It was the direct beneficiary of the investment of the claimant,” Gopal Subramanium, senior lawyer representing Amazon, told the court. It was ultimately Future Group founder Kishore Biyani who was running the show at both FRL and FCPL, he argued.

A Future Group spokesperson did not respond to ET’s queries seeking comment.

Amazon had moved the top court in April, challenging a March order by a division bench of the Delhi High Court that quashed a single judge order to attach Biyani’s properties for violating an October 2020 emergency award of the Singapore arbitrator that had restrained FRL from selling its brands and assets to Reliance Retail for about ₹25,000 crore.

Amazon filed lawsuits objecting the proposed sell-off saying its 2019 investment agreements in FCPL bars Future Retail from selling its assets to more than a dozen Indian and global entities including Reliance.

The Supreme Court will continue hearing the case either on Thursday or next Tuesday.

The Amazon lawyer told the court that Future Group had also approached it soliciting further investments into FCLP in a bid to shore up the dwindling fortunes of FRL.

“Representatives from the Future Group sought additional investments from the claimants into FRL…prepared and discussed various structures, options for the claimants’ investments to benefit FRL,” Subramanium said during the hearing.

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