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Amazon, Future Group likely to consider out-of-court settlement: Sources

New Delhi: E-commerce giant Amazon and Future Group are likely to negotiate for a possible out-of-court settlement of a year-long legal standoff over the proposed sale of Future Group assets to Reliance Retail once the Singapore arbitrator gives its initial rulings later this month, the Economic Times mentioned in a report citing two people familiar with the matter.

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) is to decide whether Future Retail Ltd (FRL) should be a party to the arbitration. Future Group had also asked the arbitration centre to vacate its October 2020 stay.

Worth mentioning here is that the stay restrained Future group from going ahead with the deal with Reliance Retail deal until a final outcome on Amazon’s challenge.

“The outcome of the SIAC initial orders will decide which way the wind could blow,” the financial daily quoted one of the persons cited above as saying. He added that possible talks between Future and Amazon could be on how to financially compensate Amazon for its minority stake in a promoter company of FRL, so that the deal between Future and Reliance Retail can go through.

“It could pave the way for negotiations between the two companies for a settlement, rather than letting it linger further,” the person cited above said.

The e-commerce giant said it has always wanted to discuss matters with Future. “Amazon has consistently offered to assist FRL during the economic downturn caused by Covid-19 and reiterated our openness for a dialogue, even during the Delhi High Court hearings,” an Amazon spokesperson told ET in an email response.

Future Group did not respond to an email seeking comment.

In the event of non-negotiation between the two groups, the SIAC final ruling could spill over well into 2022, as the Centre is only expected to start hearing on the actual arbitration in November or December, sources said. A delay in the arbitration process could be detrimental to Future Group, which is laden with debt and facing a cash crunch, analysts said.

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