Hunter looks to continue legal fight over Dobbies Garden Centres

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The Independent Online

Sir Tom Hunter, Scotland's richest man, will push ahead with his legal fight with Tesco if he can not agree a "fair resolution" with the supermarket giant over the ownership of Dobbies Garden Centres. A court yesterday ruled against the billionaire's attempt to keep Dobbies from tabling a proposed shares issue to shareholders.

Sir Tom has argued that the share issuance, which Tesco has offered to underwrite, will force out minority shareholders and give the retailing giant control of the gardening business. Sir Tom's West Coast Capital owns 29.2 per cent of Dobbies.

A spokesman said yesterday: "It is our intention to speak to Tesco's in order to seek a fair solution for all 300 shareholders, many of whom have written to us unsolicited in support of our actions. Should a fair resolution not be forthcoming we reserve our right to continue down the legal process." If no agreement is reached, Sir Tom could either proceed with the suit alleging "unfair prejudice" against Tesco or invest another £44m in new shares to preserve his 29.2 per cent stake in the business.

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