Amazon’s Indian Supreme Court Win Halts the Sale of Lucrative Supermarket Chain

India’s high court made a ruling in favor of Amazon, on August 6, marking another event in the American e-commerce giant’s ongoing and embittered battle with Reliance Industries, one of India’s largest and most powerful companies, according to a New York Times article

New York Times reporters Karan Deep Singh and Emily Schmall said that the foreign lawsuit involved Amazon’s attempt to stop the takeover of an Indian supermarket chain by one the country’s wealthiest men and chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani.

According to the New York Times, the ruling considered whether an interim decision rendered by a Singaporean arbitrator was viable and enforceable and found in the affirmative. As such, the 103-page decision upheld the para-judicial decision to pause the $3.4 billion sale of Future Group, which owns supermarkets, convenience stores, and fashion outlets in several large Indian cities, to Reliance Industries.

According to TechCrunch’s Manish Singh the dispute began shortly after Reliance announced its intent to acquire Future Group’s retail and wholesale business, as well as its logistics and warehousing arm a year ago. Singh’s article explained that Amazon, an investor in one of Future Group’s units, accused the Indian business of violating its contract and asked the Singaporean arbitrator to halt the deal.

Amazon reportedly argued that it had the right of first refusal to purchase the business sectors Reliance Industries sought to acquire. The Indian companies contended that the arbitration order was invalid in the South Asian market. Too, India’s antitrust oversight authority purportedly approved of the acquisition between the firms last year. Nevertheless, the court held that under the relevant arbitration act, the arbitrator’s decision was unappealable. 

According to New York Times sources, the high court’s ruling reflects support for foreign businesses ventures in India, where the government has restricted foreign investment in a number of industries. In addition, the country’s legal circles reportedly view the decision as another indication of judicial independence amidst accusations that the courts have recently been responsible for chipping away at free speech rights.