The bitter family feud over the billionaire Barclay brothers’ enterprise empire stays headed for the high court in April, even because the as soon as tight-knit family comes to grips with the death of Sir David, who collectively together with his twin brother, Sir Frederick, amassed a £7bn fortune constructing the family agency.
Last February Frederick, 86, and his daughter Amanda, 42, launched a authorized motion in opposition to David’s sons, Aidan, Howard and Alistair, and Aidan’s son Andrew after they have been accused of secretly recording 1,000 conversations that Frederick held within the conservatory of the family-owned Ritz lodge in London.
Frederick claims he held discussions a couple of potential sale of the lodge for as a lot as £1.3bn earlier than it was bought by David’s aspect of the family final March for a reported £700m-£750m. Court paperwork declare the recordings made within the lodge led to its sale for “half the market price”. David’s aspect have accused Frederick’s aspect of fabricating potential blockbuster counter-offers, they usually threatened to sue him for damaging the family’s status and enterprise pursuits.
The Barclay brothers’ empire stretches from the dad or mum firm of the Telegraph and Spectator to the net retailer Very – beforehand often called Shop Direct, and earlier than that Littlewoods – and the supply agency Yodel. The transfer to promote the Ritz final yr got here because the family seemed to shore up the faltering funds of its enterprise portfolio, and adopted a number of years of inside disagreement over the way forward for the empire.
The scale of the divisions started to emerge the earlier October when the Telegraph was put up for sale as a part of a overview of the portfolio, with sources suggesting David’s aspect of the family weren’t in settlement with the plans.
The authorized motion because of the bugging of the Ritz – which included CCTV footage, released to the media, allegedly displaying Alistair dealing with the listening gadget contained in the Ritz – thrust the enterprise and family affairs of the as soon as famously personal family into the highlight.
The two sides have been final in court in May, and additional proceedings have been delayed by case congestion brought on by the pandemic, and by the presiding choose Justice Warby being changed after he was appointed to the court of attraction final July.
The subsequent public high court listening to nonetheless stays scheduled for April, suggesting no settlement has but been reached that will permit the matter to be resolved privately.
David and Frederick haven’t been beneficiaries of the family belief for a few years and the battle for management has been amongst their offspring.
The day-to-day operating of the empire has lengthy been dealt with by David’s sons, Aidan and Howard, however in late 2019 strikes have been made to strengthen his aspect’s grip on the empire. The pair have been appointed as “persons with significant control” of Ellerman Holdings, the holding firm for the Barclays’ UK belongings. Each was given “more than 25% but not more than 50% of the share ownership and voting rights”.
Last January they have been appointed as administrators on the Ritz, on the identical day as Frederick’s daughter Amanda resigned after solely six months as a director. Two months later the Ritz was bought. Amanda has been left with a 25% share of the family belief and no energy to block or affect any main selections.
“I don’t know how or if Sir David’s passing will change anything,” stated one supply. “Practically speaking he wasn’t part of the court case now at the heart of this dispute.”
On Wednesday, Frederick made a public assertion concerning the passing of his twin brother. “It was a great journey in everything that we did, the good, the bad, the ugly,” he stated. “We experienced it from being bombed out of our beds in Coventry to the deals that we made and the ones that got away. We were twins from the beginning until the end. He was the right hand to my left and I was his left hand to his right. We’ll meet again.”