* Amazon, India’s Future locked in protracted legal battle
* Amazon says previous court order on asset sale is illegal
* U.S. firm alleges Future is in breach of contract
* Future has said it could face liquidation if deal fails (Adds detail from Amazon court filing)
NEW DELHI, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc took its legal challenge against partner Future Group’s $3.4 billion retail assets sale to India’s Supreme Court on Thursday, as the U.S. firm tries to stop a major rival buying the assets.
Amazon alleges that Future Group violated contracts by agreeing to sell the retail assets to market leader Reliance Industries last year. Future denies any wrongdoing.
A New Delhi court this week dealt a blow to the U.S. firm by revoking a previous court decision that effectively blocked the deal, and Amazon has now filed an appeal against it in the Supreme Court in the capital city.
Amazon said in its court filing the order by the Delhi court was “illegal” and “arbitrary” and the company would face “irreparable harm” if the top court did not intervene.
“The greater the progress made towards the completion” of the deal, “the harder it will be to unravel it,” Amazon said in the filing seen by Reuters.
Amazon and Future did not respond to requests for comment.
The legal fight over Future’s assets has embroiled two of the world’s richest men - Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani. The final outcome is seen shaping India’s pandemic-hit shopping sector and will determine if Amazon is able to dent the dominance of Reliance.
Amazon will argue in its Supreme Court appeal that an arbitration order in October that put the Future-Reliance deal on hold remains valid, one of the sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The dispute arose when Future Group agreed in August to sell its retail, wholesale and some other businesses to Reliance.
Amazon argues that a 2019 deal it had with a Future unit included clauses saying the Indian group couldn’t sell its retail assets to anyone on a “restricted persons” list, including Reliance.
Future, India’s second-largest retailer with over 1,700 stores, has said it will be pushed towards liquidation if the deal falls through. (Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Elaine Hardcastle)