The lengthy and costly battle for control of the Maybourne Group - owner of London's Berkeley, Claridge's and Connaught hotels - is set to continue after property developer Patrick McKillen won the right to appeal against an earlier High Court decision regarding ownership of the company.
This will ensure that ultimate control for three of London's most prestigious hotels between McKillen and the billionaire Barclay brothers will continue into next year, with the Court of Appeal hearing expected to take place between December and April 2013.
While the details of the grounds for appeal have not been published, the Irish Times has reported that it is believed McKillen will question the High Court judge's interpretation of the shareholders agreement signed by investors in Coroin, the company set up by financier Derek Quinlan to buy the three hotels, along with the Savoy in 2004. The Savoy was sold the following year to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.
McKillen believes that the shareholders agreement was broken when Quinlan transferred his control of the company to David and Frederick Barclay, who already own London's Ritz hotel. He is also expected to argue that pre-emption rights to allow existing shareholder to buy out others had been triggered because security held by a number of Quinlan's creditors had been triggered for non-payment of debts.
The bill for the legal battle so far is believed to have exceeded £20m, making it one of most of the most expensive cases of litigation in London this year.
By Janet Harmer
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