India’s Future Retail Wins Halt on Amazon Arbitration Process on Appeal
(Bloomberg) -- An Indian court has ordered a halt on Amazon.com Inc.’s arbitration case against Future Retail Ltd. in Singapore, a day after it had refused to interfere with the process.
Following an appeal by Future Retail, a two-judge panel of the Delhi High Court overturned Tuesday’s verdict and stayed the arbitration process started by Amazon to stop the cash-strapped Indian retailer’s asset sale to Reliance Industries Ltd. until the next hearing on Feb. 1. After a December antitrust ruling against Amazon, the case appears to be in favor of Future Retail, the bench, headed by Justice D.N. Patel, said.
Tuesday’s order, which had refused to interfere with the arbitration, was given by a single judge. Amazon can still appeal the ruling in India’s Supreme Court.
Future Retail, which recently missed payments to lenders and is at a risk of defaulting on its debt obligations, has said in court that the asset sale deal is the only way to avoid bankruptcy. For Amazon, the ongoing battle with Future is about preventing billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance from gaining an edge in the race to dominate India’s billion-plus consumer market.
India’s antitrust body in December suspended the nod for Amazon’s 2019 investment deal with Future, which had formed the basis of Amazon’s arbitration case. Following the antitrust ruling, Future Retail and a group firm Future Coupons Pvt. requested the arbitration tribunal in Singapore to terminate the arbitration. Future group firms moved the Indian court after the arbitration tribunal refused to hear the request to terminate the case on priority.
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