New writ in William Hill dispute: Court interpretation sought over section of agreement with Brent Walker

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The Independent Online
GRAND Metropolitan has fired another legal salvo in the long-running dispute over its pounds 685m sale of the William Hill and Mecca betting shop businesses to Brent Walker.

A writ has been issued by Grand Met, the international food and drinks group, seeking rectification of the sale agreement on 5 September 1989. It is also claiming costs.

Rectification, a legal term, means Grand Met is not disputing what the contract says but is querying the interpretation of certain terms.

Neither Brent, the debt-laden leisure company, nor Grand Met would specify which element of the contract was being disputed. Grand Met said: 'It has become clear that Grand Met and Brent Walker disagree about the interpretation of one aspect of the original agreement. Because Grand Met believes Brent Walker's interpretation is contrary to the agreement . . . it is applying to have the agreement rectified so as to put the point beyond argument.'

Brent said it would vigorously resist the application, which relates only to certain areas of the claim.

The two companies have been at loggerheads over William Hill since September 1990, when Brent refused to honour a pounds 50m deferred payment due on the deal.

Brent is still refusing to pay even though the High Court ruled in Grand Met's favour in February 1991. Its defiance is based on its claim against Grand Met for overstatement of William Hill's profits for the year to 30 September 1989.