Reliance Retail, the retail arm of oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries, has extended the deadline to complete the buyout of Kishore Biyani-led Future Group’s retail assets by six months, according to a regulatory filing.
“Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) extended the timeline for Long Stop Date from September 30, 2021, to March 31, 2022, which has been duly acknowledged by Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited, wholly owned subsidiary of RRVL," Future Retail informed in a regulatory filing on October 1.
The company had earlier extended the deadline for the Rs 24,713 crore deal by six months in April.
The Long Stop Date is an agreed-upon date by two parties to complete a transaction.
Reliance Industries had acquired Future Group’s retail business, which includes supermarket chain Big Bazaar in August last year. The deal, however, has faced several roadblocks since then given e-commerce behemoth Amazon’s objection to it. Amazon contests the deal claiming that a prior agreement with the Future Group entitled the company to pick up a stake in Future Retail at a later date. Amazon in 2018 had bought a 49 percent stake in unlisted Future Coupons Private Limited.
Subsequently, Amazon had moved to the Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator to block the deal. The deal has been embroiled in legal battles since then.
In the most recent turn of events, the Supreme Court of India in August gave a verdict upholding the validity of Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator’s award in India. Later on, September 9, Amazon had approached the Delhi High Court seeking implementation of the emergency arbitrator’s award. However, the Supreme Court intervened on Future Group’s appeal, and ordered a stay on the proceedings of the ongoing Amazon-Future Retail case before the Delhi High Court for the next four weeks.
The apex court also directed the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to not pass any order on the matter.
“Nothing will happen in four weeks. Issue notice. Taking into consideration the challenge to Emergency Arbitrator award is pending before tribunal under SIAC Rules," the court noted.
In another major development earlier this week, the Mumbai bench of NCLT gave a nod to Future Retail to conduct a shareholder meeting for seeking their approval on its deal with Reliance Retail. According to reports, the NCLT bench dismissed the application filed by Amazon to oppose the merger of the Future Group companies. The bench said that Amazon’s objection was premature and hence rejected it. NCLT also clarified that the Supreme Court had only restrained it from passing any final verdict in the matter.Disclaimer: MoneyControl is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.