SC spanner in $3.4-bn Future-Reliance deal; RIL gets nod to hive off O2C biz

The Enforcement Directorate is learnt to have widened its probe linked to Amazon, seeking details about sellers on the e-commerce major’s Indian platform and also its deal with Future Coupons

Business Standard
26th February

  • The Supreme Court has sought a response from Future Retail Limited in a plea by e-commerce giant Amazon challenging the Delhi High Court order which had stayed the implementation of status quo direction passed by single-judge of the High Court with respect to the $3.4-billion Future-Reliance deal. A Bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman also said that while the proceedings before National Company Law Tribunal could go on, they should not culminate in any final order of sanction of the scheme.
  • Mukesh Ambani-controlled RIL, which earlier proposed hiving off its oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business into an independent subsidiary, has received an approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and stock exchanges to create this subsidiary. The company now requires the approval of equity shareholders and creditors, regulatory authorities, and the income-tax authority, besides the National Company Law Tribunals (NCLTs) in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The approval process, according to the company, has commenced and is expected to be completed by the second quarter of the 2021-22 financial year.
  • The government is looking at easing restrictions for Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) by allowing companies from the bordering country to invest up to 25 per cent in a company through the automatic route. This is being discussed only for non-sensitive sectors like manufacturing, automobile, services and technology. Large FDI proposals, involving more than 25 per cent of Chinese investment, may undergo scrutiny at multiple levels to examine the veracity and contours of proposals, the official said.
  • Tata group companies have outperformed the broader market over the past four years, under the chairmanship of N Chandrasekaran. However, the group’s fortunes now rely more heavily on the performance of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) than in the past. The combined market capitalisation of the group’s listed companies has nearly doubled in the last four years, against a 77 per cent rally in the benchmark Sensex during the period.
  • The Enforcement Directorate has widened its probe linked to e-commerce major Amazon, seeking details about the sellers on its Indian platform and also its deal with Kishore Biyani-led Future Coupons, according to a source in the know. This follows a news report citing internal documents at the Seattle-based firm on how it dodged the government while violating FDI guidelines in giving preferential treatment to a group of sellers.
  • The ‘bad bank’ proposed to address the bad loan issue facing the banking industry, will likely follow the Swiss challenge method for price discovery of assets, sources close to the development have indicated. This means that even as an asset is transferred to the new asset reconstruction company at a pre-agreed price, bids will be called later from others, and the highest bidder will get the asset.
  • The National Stock Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday suspended trading in its cash and derivatives segments for over three hours — in one of its worst outages ever — jeopardising the interests of several market participants. The exchange cited issues with its telecom service providers which prevented stocks and index quotations from getting updated. Both the finance ministry and market regulator Sebi have sought a detailed report on the issue from the NSE.

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