Slater and Gordon named in £63m High Court conspiracy claim

In the soup again !

And just when S&G were looking for more cash from investors..

The listed company formerly known as Quindell is in court this week alleging that the national firm Slater and Gordon conspired with its own advisers to wipe £63m off its sale value.

Opening submissions began last week as Watchstone Group alleged breach of contract, breach of confidence, breach of fiduciary duty and unlawful means conspiracy against the law firm and Quindell’s adviser, Big Four accountancy firm PwC, which is the defendant in the case. The claims are all denied.

The dispute centres on the £637m sale to Slater and Gordon of Quindell’s professional services division in 2015. Watchstone alleges that an individual referred to in disclosed documents as the ‘head of PwC restructuring’ had a secret meeting with corporate advisers to Slater and Gordon during the negotiations, at which it was disclosed that Quindell would run out of cash in mid-2015 and that the law firm should bid for the entire plc and break it up. It is further alleged that confidential details of Quindell’s board’s plans were disclosed during this meeting.

Watchstone submits that at one point Slater and Gordon was willing to pay £700m for the division. But following the disclosure of information about the company, Andrew Grech, group managing director of Slater and Gordon’s listed Australian parent, ‘ultimately stood firm at £640m’. Emails from the team advising Slater and Gordon suggest the information supplied at the meeting ‘was extremely helpful’ and this was then fed into the strategy and tactics of negotiations.

Tim Lord QC, for Watchstone, said: ‘S&G was influenced and emboldened in taking that stance [of offering a lower sum] by [Grech’s] knowledge of the confidential information from PwC and its knowledge that Quindell was not aware that S&G was in possession of that information.’