On the record: ‘friends’ who fell out in £4bn EMI feud meet again in court

EMI boss and Citigroup financier in Manhattan court over £4bn deal that went sour

After a bitter months-long feud that has pitted him in ruthless combat against an old City pal, the private equity financier Guy Hands finally faced in court yesterday the man who he says cultivated his trust and then betrayed him by duping him in a multi-billion-pound deal to take control of EMI.

Jurors in a Manhattan courtroom heard his claims that the American banking giant Citigroup, and the head of their UK investment arm, David Wormsley, spun an intricate web of lies and then engaged in a cover-up to persuade him to finalise his purchase of the storied record company.

Mr Hands and Mr Wormsley were once drinking buddies who went pheasant shooting together. But yesterday their relations were anything but friendly. As a packed courtroom heard lawyer David Boies make his case that Citibank and its employee were "playing two sides of the street", Mr Hands sat just feet away from Mr Wormsley, whose view from the second row was primarily of the plaintiff's suit collar.

The accusation in a trial which, barring a settlement, may take three weeks, refers to the days before 21 May 2007, when the private equity firm Terra Firma, founded by Mr Hands, agreed to a £4.2bn buy-out of the music company. The stakes for both parties, pecuniary and in terms of reputation, are towering.

Mr Wormsley is accused of failing to disclose in the last days of an auction for EMI, at the height of the credit bubble more than two years ago, that a second bidder for the company, US-based Cerberus, had in fact dropped out. "They knew that if the news got out, the price and value of EMI would collapse," Mr Boies said in his opening statement. He said that Citigroup faced three options, the third of which was to "affirmatively mislead Terra Firma", by claiming to Mr Hands that Cerberus was still bidding. He added: "And that's exactly what they did."

Citibank, which also financed the buy-out with a large loan, has categorically denied the charges, for which Terra Firma is seeking damages in the range of £7bn, a stunningly high number.

In a blue suit, Mr Hands followed the first rituals of the trial intently, scanning the jury box as the process of selecting each of the nine jurors moved forward. The panel that was chosen included a doorman and vet's assistant and by no means matched the City or Wall Street types with whom he may be familiar. Yet his fate was now largely in their hands. "You will have to decide who is telling the truth and who is not telling the truth," Judge Jed Rakoff said in jury instructions.

Ted Wells, the lead defence lawyer, said that his evidence would show that Mr Hands decided to sue the bank only last year after he realised that his purchase of EMI had not been a good deal for him. "After a while Mr Hands had a new story," Wells told jurors. "There was no fraud, no lies. Nobody tricked him."

Lawyers from both sides yesterday faced the challenge of explaining the workings of a multi-billion-pound take-over deal, involving some of the world's most sophisticated lawyers and financiers, to a jury with little knowledge of that world. In Britain, EMI is still home to names such as Coldplay and Robbie Williams, although the latter threatened to down his microphone in 2008 after complaining he was being overworked by the new owners. Joss Stone left the label in the same year citing the breakdown in her relationship with the company after Terra Firma's takeover. Howver, to the jury, all that may mean nothing; Mr Boies at one point paused to explain the repeated references to "pence", as in pence and pounds.

Mr Boies, one of America's highest-paid lawyers who represented Al Gore in the disputed ballot with George Bush in Florida in 2000, said that Citigroup deliberately took advantage of its dual positions as adviser to both EMI and Terra Firma simultaneously. Mr Wormsley's intent from the start, he said, was "to leverage his relationship with Guy Hands" so he could deliver the bid to his other client, EMI.

He presented to jurors a picture of Mr Wormsley working overtime to establish that trust with Mr Hands. An email from Mr Wormsley to Mr Hands projected on a screen in the courtroom showed him saying, "I am incapable of not trying to get the best possible outcome for you". All the while, Mr Boies said, Mr Wormsley was "secretly" keeping EMI in the picture about what Mr Hands was doing and thinking. Even after the purchase was complete, Citigroup maintained the fiction there had been a competing bid for EMI from Cerberus, Mr Boies said. "Why would they say there were two bids when there never was, unless they were covering up?" he asked jurors.

Mr Hands is expected to testify this morning.

Guy Hands vs 'The Worm'

* Guy Hands was born on 27 August 1959, the son of a Kent solicitor.



* He was diagnosed with severe dyslexia, but went on to study at Mansfield College, Oxford. He was appointed president of the university's Conservative Association, where he became friendly with William Hague.



* Hands made his fortune at investment banks Goldman Sachs and Nomura, and founded Terra Firma in 2002.



* David Wormsley was born in 1961.



* The Cambridge graduate – known as 'The Worm' – is married to a PR executive.



* He joined Bank of America straight from university, then went to Schroders in 1986. When the bank was bought by Citigroup, he moved across.



* Prior to falling out, Wormsley and Hands had worked together for 10 years.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker