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CCI withdraws approval for Amazon and Future group deal

Date: 21 December 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The approval given for Amazon’s investment in Future Coupons Private Ltd has been withdrawn by Competition Commission of India.

 

Background

The move could derail Amazon’s attempts to thwart a takeover of the Future Group’s retail assets by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). 

 

Details

  • The CCI has kept investment permission suspended and asked Amazon to file information regarding the investment within 60 days which the CCI will examine afresh.

  • The Competition Commission has maintained that it was misled by Amazon regarding its investment in FCPL.

  • It has accused Amazon of omitting materials and misled about interest of Amazon in the business of FCPL.

  • The move would have created a strategic partnership between Amazon Group and FRL (Future Retail Ltd) in India’s retail sector.

 

Other intentions

  • The internal emails of the company showed that Amazon planned to acquire Future retail once the foreign investment laws were relaxed and not just investments.

  • The deal contained a call option for Amazon to acquire promoter stake of Future Retail within 3-10 years of the deal

 

Impact on Future Retail and Reliance industries deal

  • Amazon had approached the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) to get a stay on Future Group’s retail assets sale to RIL 

  • The decision by CCI will pave the way for RIL to acquire the Future Group’s retail assets as it may negate the investment made by Amazon in FCPL.

 

Way ahead

Amazon may challenge the order of CCI by citing that the regulator did not have the power to revoke approval for a combination under the Competition Act.

 

Competition Commission of India

  • It is a statutory body under Ministry of Corporate Affairs to promote competition and prevent activities that have an adverse impact on competition in India.

  • The combination can also be investigated by CCI to ensure that two merging entities do not overtake the market.

  • The commission operates under the Competition Act, 2002. It consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.