Court order silences Gadget shareholders

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The Independent Online

The warring shareholders in The Gadget Shop have been gagged from talking about the cause of the dispute that plunged the technology retailer into administration.

The warring shareholders in The Gadget Shop have been gagged from talking about the cause of the dispute that plunged the technology retailer into administration.

Tom Hunter and Chris Gorman, the Scottish entrepreneurs who control The Gadget Shop, are fighting a court case launched by fellow investors Peter Wilkinson, the Freeserve designer, and Jon Wood, the UBS trader.

The Scottish duo is believed to stand accused of breaching an agreement to use The Gadget Shop to acquire other retailers, starting with the Birthdays greeting card chain.

All parties have been warned they risk being charged with contempt of court if they breathe a word about the legal proceedings to anyone not involved with the case. Jonathan Elvidge, the founder of The Gadget Shop who still holds a 10 per cent stake, was also named in the petition, filed by Messrs Wilkinson and Wood last summer.

Yesterday Mr Wilkinson's solicitor, Simon Miller, a partner at Hammonds, issued a statement, warning: "It could be a contempt of court for the parties to discuss what transpired at the hearings or the reason why they are necessary." Speaking for Mr Wilkinson and Mr Wood, he said: "They decline to comment further."

There have been several court hearings already, but the proceedings are being held in private, which means the petition served against Mr Hunter is not available to the public. It is thought Mr Hunter requested that the case be dealt with behind closed doors.

The dispute has raised question marks over the The Gadget Shop's future. The legal proceedings prompted Bank of Scotland, the retailer's banker, to withdraw its support. PKF was appointed as administrator this week.

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