Stage set for long-drawn war between Bezos' Amazon and Ambani's RIL over Future Retail
According to a report by IANS, as Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) stepped into the e-commerce space with JioMart, speculations ran rife over two of world's richest individuals up for a confrontation in the market. But RIL's proposed acquisition of Future Group's retail business has pitched both behemoths, Jeff Bezos' Amazon and Mukesh Ambani's RIL, against each other in a legal battle, which now seems to be heading towards a long-drawn war.
Overseas arbitration court
After a Singapore arbitration court ordered a temporary halt in the acquisition process, Future Retail has hinted at challenging the interim order. Indicating that the matter should not have been dealt with by an overseas arbitration court, Future Retail said that all the relevant agreements are governed by Indian law and provisions of the Indian Arbitration Act for all intents and purposes and "this matter raises several fundamental jurisdictional issues which go to the root of the matter".
On expected lines
According to Future, the order will have to be tested under the provisions of Indian Arbitration Act in an "appropriate" forum. Sources close to Amazon, however, said that the eventuality of moving to Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in case of an issue in the deal was part of the agreement done between Future and Amazon, in which Amazon acquired a 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons, a Future group entity.
Dragging the battle to India
As the final order in the matter is yet to come from the arbitration court, Future Retail's statement that the need to test the order under the Indian Arbitration Act in an "appropriate" forum shows that another front might be opened up for the battle, this time in an Indian court.
The battle is as much important for Mukesh Ambani-led RIL, as it is for Kishore Biyani-led Future, as this deal would have made Reliance Retail a retail behemoth. As per several analysts, Reliance Retail would become the third largest retailer in the world. Showing its resolve to complete the proposed acquisition, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd on Sunday said that it intends to enforce its rights and complete the transaction in terms of the scheme and agreement with Future group without any delay.