Court throws out Mannesmann's bid to stop Goldman acting for Vodafone

MANNESMANN, THE German telecoms and engineering group, suffered an embarrassing rebuke yesterday when an injunction it sought to bar Goldman Sachs from advising its rival Vodafone AirTouch was thrown out by the High Court.

The court tussle came as Vodafone directors pondered making a raised pounds 85bn hostile bidfor Mannesmann, which could come today. It would be the largest takeover bid ever.

The judge, Mr Justice Lightman, said Mannesmann's application was "completely hopeless and must be dismissed", and attacked the company for "totally disgraceful and unacceptable conduct".

The injunction dissolved when preliminary claims filed with the court on Monday in a draft affidavit by Klaus Kinzius, managing director of its Eurokom division, were withdrawn.

The changes occurred on Wednesday when the German executive swore a formal affidavit. In his second statement, Mr Kinzius withdrew allegations that he and other Mannesmann executives had met with Goldman and had received assurances that the investment bank would not advise Vodafone in a hostile bid for Mannesmann.

Mr Kinzius acknowledged that he had not witnessed any conversation between Klaus Esser, the Mannesmann chief executive, and Tim Plaut, Goldman's managing director in Frankfurt, but had been informed of the alleged conversations by Mr Esser.

"[Mr Kinzius] says that he has now had the opportunity [on Wednesday] to refresh his memory from his diary and that when preparing the first Kingius affidavit he had confused the occasion when confirmation was given by Mr Plaut," said the judge in his ruling. "This a totally unsatisfactory explanation."

The judge further criticised the behaviour of Mr Kinzius."I regard the placing of this evidence before the court as totally disgraceful and unacceptable conduct," he said. "It raised serious questions as to the integrity of Mr Kinzius and the motive for this application."

Mannesmann, which had been advised by Goldman on its buyout of Italy's Omnitel earlier this year, claimed it had received assurances of an ongoing advisory mandate and that the bank had said it would not act in a hostile bid against a client. Goldman maintained there was no ongoing relationship.

Mr Justice Lightman also refused to accept that Goldman had received confidential information about strategy and tax structures from advising Hutchison Whampoa and Orange in the latter's agreed pounds 20bn buyout by Mannesmann last month.

But the judge said the claim was "academic" since Mannesmann provided no evidence of providing Goldman with any information. He also observed that Mannesmann had itself made the information public by opposing a motion from Goldman to hear the case in private.

"In conclusion, this application is completely hopeless and must be dismissed," the judge said. "It should never have been made." Legal observers said such strident criticism was unusual. The judge ordered the German company to pay both sets of costs and consented to an order of inquiry, which could see Goldman claim for damages or losses resulting from the court action.

Outlook, page 23

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most