Amazon asks India’s antitrust watchdog to revoke approval of Reliance Future deal By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People shop for clothes inside the Big Bazaar retail store in Mumbai, India, November 25, 2020. (Reuters) / Niharika Kulkarni / File Photo
By Aditya Kalra and Abhirup Roy
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Amazon has asked India’s antitrust watchdog to revoke its approval of Future Retail’s $3.4 billion sale of retail assets to Reliance, saying it was “illegally acquired,” in violation of an order suspending the deal, a letter showed. Seen by Reuters.
Approval of the deal was “void in the eyes of the law” as the arbitrator’s order was still in effect, according to a letter sent by Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) last week.
The battle between two of the world’s richest men, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani, presents a competition for control of India’s booming retail market, estimated at around $1 trillion.
The winner of the battle for Future Retail Ltd, India’s second-largest retailer and separate local Amazon partner, will take first place in the race to meet the daily needs of over a billion people.
CCI, Amazon, Future Group and Reliance did not respond to requests for comment.
Future said the arbitrator’s suspension order was invalid but Indian courts refused to invalidate it.
If the regulator approves the previously unreported letter, it would be a major setback for the oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance.
Amazon won an injunction https://www.reuters.com/article/amazon-india-future-reliance-idCNL4N2RN47P against the deal from an arbitrator in Singapore last year, alleging that Future had breached contracts that prevented it from selling assets to entities including Accreditation.
But CCI later authorized the deal.
Amazon said in its letter dated Wednesday that the company misled CCI and continued to seek approval for the deal, calling the injunction a “brazen attempt to undermine the rule of law.”
Amazon has requested an in-person hearing from CCI to present its case.
The letter comes as Amazon is also grappling with allegations that it distorted facts and hid information as it sought antitrust clearance for its 2019 deal with Future Group.
Amazon has so far successfully used the contracts for this deal to block the Future deal with Reliance.
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