09 July 2013

The Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected Irish property developer Patrick McKillen’s claim that he was unfairly prejudiced by the Barclay brothers acquiring control over 35.4% of shareholding in Coroin Limited, the company that owns the Claridge’s, Connaught and Berkeley hotels. 

Mr McKillen holds 36.2% of the shares in Coroin and was attempting to acquire a controlling interest in the company through this litigation. This is the third claim brought by Mr McKillen, challenging the Barclay brothers’ attempt to control Coroin since 2011.  

Mr McKillen complained that he had been unfairly prejudiced as a shareholder, as well as claiming that the shares in Corion found their way into the brothers’ control without Mr McKillen first being offered more shares for purchase through pre-emption rights. The brothers had acquired de facto control over the shares by various indirect and circuitous routes, without there actually being a legal transfer of the shares (specifically to avoid the triggering of pre-emption provisions). This dispute involved the brothers acquiring control of the shares belonging to another Irish property tycoon, Derek Quinlan.

The Court of Appeal unanimously rejected the appeal on the grounds that the pre-emption rights had not been triggered by the brothers’ indirect methods of acquiring control of the shares save in one respect. In the one instance that pre-emption rights had been exercisable, there was no unfairly prejudicial conduct by Coroin.

Mr McKillen appears unperturbed by this defeat, vowing to launch a new claim relying on the one instance that the Court of Appeal found that pre-emption rights were triggered but not acted upon.

Key contact

Paul Haggett

Paul Haggett Partner

  • General Counsel
  • DPO

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