CCI, Future Group deal, Amazon
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has accused Amazon.com Inc of concealing facts and making false submissions when it sought approval for a 2019 investment in a Future Group unit, a global news wire reported.
The report said the letter complicates Amazon’s bitter legal battle with Future Group over the Indian’s firm’s decision to sell its retail assets to Reliance Industries – a matter that is now before India’s Supreme Court.
Amazon has argued that terms agreed upon in its 2019 deal to pay $192 million for a 49 per cent stake in Future’s gift voucher unit prevent its parent, Future Group, from selling its Future Retail business to Reliance.
In the letter dated June 4, the CCI said Amazon hid factual aspects of the transaction by not revealing its strategic interest in Future Retail when it sought approval for the 2019 deal, the global news wire said.
“The representations and conduct of Amazon before the Commission amounts to misrepresentation, making false statement and suppression or/and concealment of material facts,” the letter said. It also noted that its review of the submissions made had been prompted by a complaint from Future Group.
In the four-page letter, a so-called ‘show cause notice’, the CCI asked Amazon why it should not take action and penalise the company for providing false information, the report added.
The CCI’s 2019 approval order states its decision “shall stand revoked if, at any time, the information provided” is found to be incorrect.
Shares in Future Retail jumped following the report, extending gains to be up nearly 5 per cent in Thursday afternoon trade.
The dispute over Future Retail, which has more than 1,500 supermarket and other outlets, is the most hostile flashpoint between Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and Reliance, run by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, as they try to gain the upper hand in winning over the country’s consumers.