CCI clears Reliance-Future retails’ $3.4 billion deal, regardless of Amazon’s objections.

Future has argued it entered into the deal with Reliance because its retail business was severely hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and it was critical to protect all its stakeholders.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) announces the approval of Reliance Retail’s acquisition of Future Group’s retail assets worth $3.4 billion on Friday. The announcement was declared via a tweet by India’s antitrust body, regardless of Amazon’s objections.

“Commission approves acquisition of retail, wholesale, logistics & warehousing businesses of Future Group by Reliance Retail Ventures Limited and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited” the tweet read.

This comes after Amazon had approached SEBI and CCI alleging that the Reliance-Future deal would violate some pre-existing agreements it had with Future Group.

The lawyer of the CCI emphasized that the regulator looks only into competition issues around a deal and is not concerned with other disputes between parties. “It’s (CCI) not a regulator which approves the transaction as such,” says the lawyer.

The deal is yet to receive an approval of stock exchanges and market regulator SEBI. However, the three giants are now embroiled in a legal battle at the Delhi High Court over the transaction.

In October, Amazon approached the Delhi High Court after it had won an injunction interim order of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) putting the transaction on hold.

Owing to the pandemic, the company was severely hit and it was critical to protect all its stakeholders, argued Future Group in defence of the deal with Reliance.

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