In a judgement handed down this morning (3 July), the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed Belfast-born McKillen’s accusation that the twin brothers had acted unlawfully in their attempts to gain total control of Coroin - the parent company of Maybourne Hotel Group which operates Claridge's, The Connaught and The Berkeley.
“This is a complete and total defeat for Mr McKillen,” said Richard Faber, speaking on behalf of the Barclay brothers. “He has had numerous judgments against him in this case and has lost every major point on which he has appealed.
“His claims have been flatly rejected by the Court of Appeal yet again. The Barclay family interests have been shown conclusively to have acted lawfully and properly at all times in their dealings over Coroin. Mr McKillen is a minority shareholder in Coroin and his attempts to use the Courts to lever himself into a majority position have failed utterly.”
The Court of Appeal ruling:
- Nothing had been done by the Barclay brothers in relation Coroin Limited which was ‘unlawful’
- McKillen was wrong in his assertion that the company was bound, but had failed, to call board meetings and no one had prevented McKillen from calling any meeting
- If McKillen believed that a board meeting ought to have taken place, he could and should have called one himself but failed to do so
The two sides had been in a legal battle for over two years for control of Claridges, the Berkeley and the Connaught, with McKillen being the single largest shareholder. But the Barclays have a majority on the board of the hotels’ holding company, Coroin, as they control the shares held in the name of 65-year-old Irish businessman Derek Quinlan.
McKillen was initially defeated in the High Court in last Augustand previous Court of Appeal rulings against him in February and June 2012. Today, Mr Justice David Richards said McKillen should now pay both sides' legal costs, with the total figure estimated to be in the region of £18.7m.
“There is nothing for him to salvage from these rulings,” added Faber. After nearly two years of legal proceedings, Mr McKillen is considerably worse off financially but no further forward.”
Quinlan added: "Today's Court of Appeal unanimous decision confirming last year’s High Court judgment that Mr McKillen’s claims were without merit is most welcome. The case has been an expensive and unnecessary distraction for everyone. I will now continue to focus on my debt reduction programme with the ongoing support of my creditor banks.”
Maybourne Hotel Group: Timeline:
- 2004 - Coroin founded by a consortium of investors to acquire The Savoy Group of hotels including The Savoy, Claridge's, the Connaught and The Berkeley
- 2005 - The Savoy hotel sold and the group is renamed Maybourne Hotel Group
- 2005-2011 - Shareholders in Maybourne Hotel Group gradually fall to just McKillen (36.2 per cent) and Quinlan (35.4 per cent plus Misland, an off-shore company)
- January 2011 - The Barclay brothers purchase Misland giving them a stake in the group
- 2011 - The Barclay brothers purchase Quinlan's debts and those of the group from NAMA
- February 2012 - The High Court confirms the purchase of Misland was legal
- June 2012 - The High Court rules the acquistion of debt was also valid
- August 2012 - The High Court dismisses claims made by McKillen that the Barclay brothers acted unlawfully in their attempts to control the group
- August 2012 - McKillen considers an appeal and says he remains committed to stopping the brothers from gaining control of the group and the hotels
- July 2013 - McKillen has today lost his appeal