CCI suspends nod for Amazon deal with Future

The Competition Commission of India suspended its approval of Amazon’s 2019 deal with Future Coupons, on the sole basis of which the US e-tailer was fighting several legal battles to block Future Group’s proposed sale of assets to Reliance Retail for Rs 25,000 crore.

The development, which has far-reaching implications for the Jeff Bezos-led etailer in the domestic market and the Indian retail industry, could prove to be a stepping stone for the Reliance-Future deal to go through, subject to regulatory and legal approvals. The antitrust watchdog said it wants to examine the Amazon-FCPL deal afresh. In addition, it slapped a Rs 200-crore penalty on Amazon for making “false and incorrect statements” and suppressing the “actual purpose” of the deal, while seeking approval.

Amazon has 60 days to re-appeal for approval with “true, correct and complete” information and, till then, its order for approval for the 2019 deal “shall remain in abeyance”, said CCI. This leaves Amazon with a few options, sources said, that include appealing to a higher court or approaching the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.

In 2019, Amazon had acquired 49% in FCPL, an unlisted Future Group entity, for Rs 1,500 crore. Since FCPL held around 10% in FRL, the e-tailer claimed it gave it rights over the latter. Subsequently, when the Future-Reliance deal was announced, Amazon dragged FRL to a Singapore arbitration court for alleged violation of contracts.

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