Future-Reliance saga has a scary message: If Amazon can’t enforce a contract, who can?

This story was first published in The Economic Times. Views are personal.

In case you have not been paying attention, the pandemic has had a transformative impact on the future of Indian retail and e-commerce. Earlier in October, Kishore Biyani admitted that the pandemic had led to his company, ‘Future Group’, losing 7000 crores in 3-4 months. Rent and interest on properties like Big Bazaar had not stopped, while sales had taken a direct hit.

While Future Group was struggling with the impact of the pandemic, Reliance was looking to grow. This year, Jio Platforms attracted high profile investments from amongst others, Facebook and Google. Similarly, Reliance Retail was looking to expand. Between September to October, Reliance Retail raised 37,000 crores from over eight investments. Also, there were reports that Amazon had been planning to acquire a significant stake in Reliance Retail for about $20 billion. In late August, Reliance announced the acquisition of Future Group for 24,713 crores.