future retail: Future, Amazon lawyers agree to initiate talks for an out-of-court settlement


Lawyers for both Future Group and Amazon on Thursday agreed to initiate dialogues to find an out of the court settlement of the 18-month-old dispute between the US giant and Future Group over the Indian company plans to sell its assets to Reliance Retail.

“I am presenting for a solution,” Amazon’s lawyer Gopal Subramanian set the conciliatory tone in the Thursday morning proceedings in the apex court. “Throughout we have always been willing to have a dialogue, a conversation. There can be other resolutions to a matter. Is it not a whirlpool? Facing one statutory authority barely because we went through an arbitration. Let us put our hands together and find a solution. ”

The Supreme Court said it will hear the matter again on March 15 and told the three parties Amazon.com NV Investments Holdings LLC, Future Retail Ltd (FRL) and its promoter Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) to find ways to trash out a settlement.

“We will simply adjourn the matter for 10 days….. Meanwhile, work out by gentleman’s understanding. It will be better in interest of business,” Chief Justice N V Ramana said.

“Now if he has seen the light of the day and he wants to have a conversation, what prevents the big boss from Amazon calling up Mr. (Kishore) Biyani,” Salve said responding to Subramanian’s proposal. “We are not stopping them. As lawyers, behind the scenes, encourage it…. Let me assure Your Lordship nobody is winning in this battle.”

The Supreme Court gave a 12-day time for both the groups to talk to their respective clients for a solution to the legal impasse that has brought Future Group to the brink of bankruptcy.

Subsequently, the apex court said the proceedings in the Delhi High Court and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) could go as scheduled.

This the first major conciliatory approach agreed by the two parties in an otherwise more than a year of acrimonious legal battle since October 2020 when the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) through an emergency order halted the Rs 25,000 crore proposed deal between Future Group and Reliance Retail.

Amazon alleges breach of contract by FRL to sell its assets to Reliance Retail and the US giant argues that its 2019 investment agreements into promoter firm FCPL, FRL is barred from parting with its businesses without Amazon’s consent. On top of that, Amazon said FRL is particularly barred from selling assets to more than dozen corporations including Reliance.


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