Hollinger’s Telegraph Group has won a significant victory in its battle with Express Newspapers over the sale of the latter’s share in the jointly owned West Ferry Printers.
The Companies Court rejected an Express demand that the Telegraph buy its 50 per cent stake at a price set by an arbitrator. Vice-Chancellor Sir Andrew Morritt said undue pressure had been put on Telegraph chief executive Dan Colson after the Express had sent him a note implying he no longer wished to sell the stake.
Sir Andrew said of Martin Ellice, joint managing director of Express Newspapers: "He gave me the clear impression of one determined at all costs to stick to a predetermined script … As I have already concluded, the statement I have quoted was false and Mr Ellice knew it was."
The Telegraph will not now have to adhere to a price set by the arbitrator if it thinks it is too high.
That ruling has prompted Express chairman Richard Desmond to offer to return to the board of the printing company "to dramatically increase its profitability".