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Amazon Tries to Thwart Retail Asset Sale of India's Future Group to Rival Reliance

By Rich Duprey - Jan 25, 2021 at 10:47AM

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The e-commerce giant has tried to make inroads in India by partnering with both companies.

Amazon.com (AMZN 3.58%) is trying to block rival Reliance Industries from acquiring the retail assets of India's Future Group for $3.4 billion.

Reuters reports the e-commerce giant is asking an Indian court to intervene in the case after the sale got approval from the country's market regulators and stock exchanges.

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Image source: Getty Images.

The future of global retail growth

Amazon and Reliance Industries are competing to establish positions in Future Retail, India's second-largest retailer. 

The former invested over $100 million into Future Coupons, a gift card, loyalty card, and rewards card business for corporations that Future Retail owns. Reliance and Future agreed to the asset sale in August of last year.

To block the deal, Amazon is asking the court to uphold a Singapore arbitration ruling that the asset sale should be put on hold. The e-commerce site contends both sides had agreed to use arbitrators in case of disputes, and says Future violated pre-existing clauses it had by entering into the sale with Reliance.

Because India is seen as key to global growth initiatives, Amazon was also in negotiation with Reliance to acquire a 40% stake in Reliance Retail for $20 billion. Reliance Retail runs supermarkets, various retail chains, and an online grocery store called JioMart, which both Alphabet and Facebook have invested in.

Last week Reliance agreed to embed JioMart into Facebook's WhatsApp messaging app to allow users to shop online without ever having to leave the app, which is reportedly the most popular messaging app in India.

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