The bitter battle between two leading Indian family heirs continues. Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries has started arbitration proceedings against Reliance Communications, the part of the family empire controlled by younger brother Anil.
The action follows the failure of Anil to participate in meetings aimed at resolving a dispute over share ownership. Reliance Communications is currently negotiating with South African mobile telecoms group MTN over a merger.
It is understood that Anil wants to swap his 66% stake in his own company for a roughly 50% stake in MTN. Mukesh, however, claims Reliance Industries has first refusal over any sale of shares in his brother's company, which Anil was put in charge of following the death of their father in 2002.
"Reliance Communications has refused to participate in the conciliation meetings under the alternate dispute resolution provisions contained in the non-competition agreement," Reliance Industries said in a statement.
It announced it had appointed a former judge of India's Supreme Court to arbitrate. However, a spokesperson for Reliance Communications said that the company rejects the basis of the alleged dispute and does not recognise the arbitration process.
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