The war between the Tatas and Mistrys has entered the final overs, and the Supreme Court is fast pacing towards the delivery of a verdict in the historic battle between friends turned foes’ unprecedented corporate battle. While it is yet to be known who would win the fight between the Tata Sons and Shapoorji Pallonji Group, all legal and corporate enthusiasts are waiting with bated breath in anticipation of the decision which the Supreme Court will make in the high-value case. What makes the Tata vs Mistry battle all the more interesting is the choice of advocates representing them.
While Tata Sons have fielded senior counsel Harish Salve to represent them at the SC, the SP Group of Mistrys has chosen to be represented by C Aryama Sundaram. With such legal eagles representing the two sides, the Tata Sons vs SP Group battle has only had its stakes raised tremendously, as the case now becomes a legal battle between Sundaram and Salve just as much as it is a corporate battle between Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry.
At the heart of the Supreme Court battle between the two corporate giants is a major difference of opinion between them over the valuation of the Mistrys’ 18.4 per cent stake in Tata Sons. While the SP Group remains adamant that the valuation of their stake in Tata Sons is approximate to the tune of 1.78 lakh crore rupees, the Tatas peg the value of the stake far more modestly at anywhere between Rs. 70,000 – 80,000 crores.
According to a report by Business Standard, corporate lawyers said with such formidable legal eagles fielded by both sides in the SC, the fight between the two has become the most-watched legal war in recent times.” The only such massive corporate battle which we can think of is the fight between the Ambani brothers in the SC over the KG-D6 gas field,” said a senior lawyer in Mumbai. Reliance Industries (RIL) won the case in SC.
In fact, appearing for Tata Sons before the Supreme Court, Salve called Mistry’s offer to settle the issue by share swap on the Tata group’s listed companies as “nonsense“.“It is nonsense. This kind of relief cannot be granted,” Salve was quoted as saying. CA Sundaram, on the other hand, fired back saying, “The whole conduct by which Tata Sons was made a private limited company showed that minority shareholders (SP group) were being side-lined.” In fact, Sundaram went as far as asserting that the alleged unfair treatment of minority shareholders within Tata Sons is an act of oppression under the law.
In line with the same, Sundaram also informed the court that the entire fight between the Tatas and SP Group erupted since Mistry was going to table a corporate governance document which proposed to regulate the Tata Trusts’ say in Tata Sons so that the two nominee directors of Tata Trusts do not decide everything about the group.
With top legal eagles representing the two friends turned foes before the Supreme Court of India, needless to say, the corporate battle could take any turn in the near future. Apart from being the corporate war of a lifetime, the Tata Sons versus SP Group tussle has also been turned into a historic legal battle.