Wednesday, 24 February, 2021


Will SEBI's insider trading order on Kishore Biyani, Future affect Reliance deal?

Kishore Biyani Kishore Biyani , Bloomberg
Conrad Doyle | 04 February, 2021, 11:41

The Sebi order relates to trading in the shares of Future Retail using unpublished price-sensitive information by Biyani and his associates when the group was undergoing a restructuring in March-April 2017.

India's markets regulator has banned a retail tycoon from accessing the securities markets for a year on charges of insider trading, complicating his battle to keep his companies afloat. Another senior lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the order won't impact the NCLT process.

Apart from the Biyanis and FCRL, individuals barred from the securities market include Rajesh Pathak, who was then company secretary of FCRL, Rajkumar Pande, CFO of FCRL, Virendra Samani, legal counsel for Future Group and Arpit Maheshwari, who was Deputy Manager at Future Retail at the time.

In a separate statement, Future Corporate Resources Pvt Ltd (FCRPL) said the SEBI order "has taken care to exclude dealings in securities under any impending Scheme of Arrangement".

Usually, SEBI's orders can be appealed in the Securities Appellate Tribunal. Apart from this, SEBI has also imposed a penalty of Rs 3.7 crore on Biyani and a few others. This deal has been challenged by e-commerce giant Amazon in courts.

Future has said its retail unit faces insolvency if the deal fails.

In August 2019, Amazon had agreed to purchase 49 per cent of one of Future's unlisted firms, Future Coupons Ltd (which owns 7.3 per cent equity in BSE-listed Future Retail Ltd through convertible warrants), with the right to buy into the flagship Future Retail after a period of three to 10 years. On December 21, a single-member bench rejected the plea to restrain Amazon from writing to regulatory authorities about the SIAC arbitral order but gave a go-ahead to the regulators to decide over the deal.

The case pertains to an announcement made by FRL on exchanges on April 20, 2017, which resulted in demerger of certain business of FRL and had a positive impact on the scrip of the company.

Future Retail is embroiled in a battle with Amazon.com Inc. over that deal, which the USA online retail giant is trying to block.

A court in New Delhi blocked Future Group's sale of retail assets to Reliance Industries on Tuesday.

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