Opening up after being locked in an intense legal battle with Amazon over the Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance, Biyani said the US giant’s 2019 investment in Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) Future Retail’s parent was for coupon and gifting business only and the same could continue post-retail assets going to Reliance.
He hoped to complete the deal with Reliance within two months of Sebi approval.
While the arbitration would commence later in January over the plea filed by Amazon contesting the deal with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Biyani said both the deal and arbitration process would continue in “parallel” as the deal with billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led group is not related with the e-commerce major’s stake in one of the group firms, Future Coupons.
Biyani said Future Group had approached them several times after its retail business was massively hit after the lockdown and its debt level zoomed.
“The day COVID and lockdown started, since then we were in continuous engagement with Amazon. That’s not the case that they (Amazon) were not aware of. We had written to them somewhere in March also about the price deterioration and invocation of shares,” Biyani said.
There was a clause through which Amazon could replace lenders with some others which can help them (Future) to retain the ownership of the shares if it falls, he added.
“COVID had happened and things did not materialise then. After that, we were in discussion with them (Amazon) through the whole transaction. Even when Reliance was part of the negotiation, they were always aware of that,” he added.
Asked as to how many times Future Group approached Amazon, he said, “we were in continuous dialogue. We had approached them multiple times. We had calls and meetings.”
Biyani said Amazon was also apprised when there were exclusive talks with RIL.
“After the matter has become legal (sub-judice), we have not spoken,” he said. While noting that Amazon’s response was always “let’s find a solution,” Biyani said they never got any solution from Amazon except “lots of paper works.”
“To be honest, we never got a concrete solution,” Biyani said, adding, “we approached RIL only after things were not moving. You cannot work with one option at a time.”