CCI to meet Amazon, Future Coupons on Jan 4

In a regulatory filing on Monday, FRL said FCPL had informed the company of receipt of CCI's communication.
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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) will meet Amazon and Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) in January next year in connection with the approval given by the fair trade watchdog to the ecommerce major's investment in FCPL, a regulatory filing said on Monday.

Independent directors of Future Retail Ltd have approached the CCI to seek revocation of the nod given to the US giant's 2019 investments into FCPL, Future Retail Ltd's (FRL) promoter group entity.

In a regulatory filing on Monday, FRL said FCPL had informed the company of receipt of CCI's communication.

"...FCPL's lawyers have received a communication dated November 15, 2021, from the CCI informing FCPL that CCI, after considering the application of FCPL inter-alia for a personal hearing, has decided to hear Amazon.com NV Investment Holding LLC ( Amazon ) and FCPL on January 4, 2022, in connection with the approval given by CCI...for Amazon's investment in FCPL," it added.

On November 14, independent directors of FRL shot off a letter to the CCI, citing internal communications of Amazon to establish its contradictory statements before courts and the anti-monopoly body, and sought revocation of the approval given to Amazon-Future Coupons deal.

They accused Amazon of submitting "completely opposite information" which was "contradictory" to Amazon's own internal communications regarding the US giant's 2019 investments into FRL's promoter company.

The independent directors of FRL had written a similar letter earlier this month.

Amazon is contesting the Rs 24,713 crore deal announced last year by Future Group for sale of the retail and wholesale business, and the logistics and warehousing business to Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd.

Amazon is contesting the deal through its shares in FCPL and had approached Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). The companies have also approached Indian courts in this matter.

In October last year, an interim award was passed by the EA (the emergency arbitrator) in favour of Amazon that barred FRL from taking any step to dispose of or encumber its assets or issuing any securities to secure any funding from a restricted party.

This was also upheld by SIAC last month which said FRL is a party to the ongoing arbitration between Amazon and Future group in the dispute over the sale of its assets to Reliance Retail.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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