The Mumbai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has granted approval to Kishore Biyani-led Future Group companies to hold extraordinary general meetings (EGMs) with their shareholders and creditors to request approval for the transfer of assets to Reliance Retail Ltd.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the two-member NCLT bench comprised of Suchitra Kanuparthi and Chandra Bhan Singh rejected the application filed by e-commerce giant Amazon challenging the scheme of merger of the Future group companies.
In a regulatory statement, a Future group firm confirmed the news, stating that the NCLT ordered the company to schedule a relevant date for the meeting and granted its consent in an order issued on Tuesday.
Future Retail said in a statement, “The company is pleased to update the stock exchanges that the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai Bench, has passed an order allowing the company to hold meetings of its shareholders and creditors to seek approval for the scheme. The NCLT has further rejected the intervention application filed by Amazon.”
Future Retail Ltd requested approval from the NCLT in February of this year. The first phase is to obtain permission to conduct a shareholder meeting. Future Retail needs a bunch of other approvals. Future and Reliance Retail have agreed to merge Future Group’s retail, wholesale, logistics, and warehousing assets into a single corporation, Future Enterprises Ltd, and then transfer that to Reliance Retail.
Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) announced in August last year that it will absorb Future Group’s retail and wholesale divisions, as well as its logistics and warehousing businesses for Rs 24,713 crore. Amazon, which owns a 50 percent stake in Future Coupon in 2019 had opposed the acquisition.
Amazon took Future Retail to arbitration at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in October of last year. The Future Retail and Reliance Industries merger was given an interim stay in SIAC. Later, it approached the Indian courts to defend the aforementioned order.
Amazon and Future have also filed lawsuits in Indian courts, including the Supreme Court, to address the matter. The Supreme Court recently ruled in Amazon’s favor, declaring the EA award legal and enforceable under Indian law.
Interestingly, Future Retail Ltd announced on August 28 that it had appealed the decision in the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court verdict urging it to enforce the Singapore-based EA’s decision to maintain the status quo in respect to the acquisition.