Reliance Retail, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, has been eyeing a stake in Future Group’s retail empire across the country. However, with Amazon acting as a hurdle, the Future-Reliance deal may not materialise. If that happens, almost 11 lakh people will lose their livelihoods.
In August 2019, the Future Group had entered into a deal with Amazon to sell 49 per cent of Future Coupons, its unlisted entity, for Rs 1,500 crore. As per the deal, the Future Group was not allowed to enter into any future deals with certain ‘restricted’ entities.
Seeing that Reliance was about to buy Future Retail, Amazon filed an emergency arbitration case with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) demanding suspension of the sale. It has also written to SEBI, CCI and stock exchanges against the deal.
However, the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation, FMCG Distributors and Traders Association Delhi and Public Response Against Helplessness and Action for Redressal (PRAHAR) point out that the Future Group and Reliance had assured that no business —Big Bazaar, EasyDay, Nilgiris, Central, Brand Factory — will be affected. The two companies had promised that employees’ or suppliers’ livelihoods will not be impacted. But if
Amazon continues to put up hurdles the deal may just fall through and lakhs of jobs may be lost, as the Future Group is already struggling.
Future Group operates around 2,000 stores in more than 450 cities across India. If the deal falls through, outlets will have to be closed down, which will also impact vendors and suppliers for whom the Future Group is the biggest client.