McKillen to pursue gaining control of company

Friday 10 August 2012 18.46
Paddy McKillen said his lawyers were studying the judgment with a view to an appeal
Paddy McKillen said his lawyers were studying the judgment with a view to an appeal

Paddy McKillen says he will do everything in his power to gain control of the company which controls three of London's top hotels.

The Belfast-born developer was speaking after losing a case at the High Court in London against the billionaire Barclay Brothers, owners of the Ritz Hotel and Telegraph newspapers.

Paddy McKillen had sued the brothers alleging they had improperly taken control of Claridges, the Berkeley and the Connaught Hotels in London.

He claimed the Barclay's use of the shareholding in the hotels of former Irish financier Derek Quinlan should have triggered an agreement under which Mr McKillen - as an existing shareholder - would have been given first refusal in the purchase of the Quinlan shareholding.

However in today's written judgment Mr Justice David Williams said no breaches of the shareholders agreement had been established.

But speaking by telephone from France today, Mr McKillen maintained that after today's judgment the Barclay Brothers still could not take over the Quinlan shareholding without it being offered to him first.

He said he would continue to do everything in his power to buy Mr Quinlan's shareholding and that he had the funding to do so.

However, commenting on today's judgement a spokesman for the Barclay Brothers said that the judge had conducted an extensive review of Mr McKillen's sources of funding and rejected his case that he had could have made the purchase.

The spokesman said the judge's conclusions would come as a further blow to Mr McKillen and underline once again the validity of the stance taken by the Barclay interests.

Today's judgment is unlikely to end the fight for Coroin, the company which controls the three London hotels.

The Barclays still hold 28% of the shares. Derek Quinlan holds 35% while Paddy McKillen still has his 36%.

Mr McKillen said his lawyers were studying today's lengthy judgment with a view to an appeal, that he was ready and able to buy the Quinlan shareholding whenever it was offered and that he would never give up his right to the hotels.