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They will settle admitting no liability. Watchstone won’t mind if the figure is right. Won’t be the full amount but it’ll be material.
By 'concede' I assume you mean settle out of court ?
I had a note from Watchstome group in December 2015 but i have since lost it and after asking the Linkgroup they can not find me, is this because i do not hold any shares now, i would have thought as they sent me the note they must still have my details in their data base, thank you for any help.
Exemplary damages is unusual in UK law. My view, if exemplary damages were awarded against PWC, they would be finished. It would destroy their reputation. They will Therefore concede. Some of you may recall that it was my opinion that rather than being a tech firm, QPP was a law firm and the value in the business lay in the caseload. This is why I invested. The case load was UltimTely sold to Slater and Gordon for circa 1 billion. I did pretty well.
Its about time these so called accountancy firms are held to boot, The have been complicit now in so many frauds and accounting scandals at best only turning a blind eye. PWC and EY were involved with the recent collapse of the London Capital and Finance pyramid scam, and just look at ENRON and Arthur Anderson !!!
I think this is the original reference.
para 24 of https://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Comm/2019/2371.html reads....
""In another exchange, in the period directly before the negotiation of the price for the PSD, Ms Jablko said that she had discussed with "Andrew", which it is said, in context, must mean Andrew Grech, whether to ask Mr Davies to "check back in" with his PwC contact "to see what Intel you can gather". It appears from the emails that such further contact, says Watchstone, was arranged. Ms Jablko told Mr Davies that "we want you to speak to PwC" and Mr Davies replied that he would arrange to meet PwC face to face on Monday, 23 February 2015 because "over the phone won't be easy". Mr Davies then told Ms Jablko, on 27 February 2015, that he had "an excuse to sit with PwC soon and we will come on to the debate re [Quindell]".""
There has been a small article in The Daily Telegraph (Saturday 22nd August) regarding the litigation.
It's mostly a repeat of material I've already seen, however, there's a small section I don't recall having read elsewhere:
"Further emails show Greenhill bankers trying to arrange a follow up meeting. Mr Davies told colleagues: "I will arrange a time to sit with pwc on Monday [sic] [23rd February]. It is better face to face as over the phone won't be easy".
In documents submitted to the court, lawyers for Watchstone claim: "It is to be inferred from this that Mr Davies was concerned that the PwC Head of Restructuring would not want any record to be made of such communications with Mr Davies"
There's also mention in the article of PwC having failed to disclose the meetings with Greenhills in disclosures to the FCA.
Oh dear, oh dear. What can PwC say?
This makes good reading.
""Watchstone PLC’s claim against PwC is also seeking exemplary damages for breach of contract and/or breach of confidence and/or breach of fiduciary duty and/or unlawful means conspiracy.""
The important additional element here, (IMO) is.. " also seeking exemplary damages...."
(Exemplary, can mean "An exemplary punishment is severe and intended as a warning to others:" Don't you just love the use of the word "severe" in this context? I know I do!)
Other side of the story.. (Formulaic, but probably the best they can do for now.)
"A PwC spokesman said: “We deny these allegations and will vigorously defend this claim. It would be inappropriate to comment further on an ongoing legal matter.”
""British insurance claims processor Quindell announced a shake-up of its board after it confirmed it was selling its professional services arm to Slater & Gordon, the Australia-listed law firm, for about £700m.""
""Slater & Gordon said it would pay an upfront consideration of £637m for the division and an earn-out based on the performance of the professional services division's legacy noise-induced hearing loss cases.""
"I've only read one line from an email that suggested S&G were considering paying £700m."
Evidence is evidence, it doesn't have to be repeated everywhere. You admit there is reference to a higher figure being paid for the take-over. So you are going to ignore it? Good luck with that.
I can imagine the strenuous defence even now, "Yes M'Lud, we did see that reference in the documentation before the court but we have decided to ignore it".
How many murdered bodies does it take to make a murder case?
"S&G then slashed its bid for Quindell's division from £700million to £637million, High Court papers claim. When confronted with the new offer, Quindell's bosses 'felt unable to refuse' because of its desperate position."
If PwC really are prepared to go to court to defend their case I will be surprised. As for the payment, I expect at least what Watchstone have asked for.
Who knows, perhaps PwC have a client company in a position to, (with a cup of coffee) make a generous offer to take WTG over.
I'd like £8 -£10 per share, but who knows? Perhaps I'd settle for £6.
As you may see, I believe Watchstone is in a massively strong position. And I have (sadly) first hand experience of their patience in these sort of situations.
I completely agree.
Especially with the final points about disclosure and other clients. I imagine PWC would be quite enthusiastic to avoid such disclosures, so the "equitable compensation" negotiated could be uncomfortable for PWC...but worth it to defend their future viability.
I've been giving further consideration to the litigation Watchstone has commenced. I've outlined my views below primarily for my own benefit but would welcome any comments .
An extract from the RNS of 7/8/20 announcing Watchstone's claim against PwC:
"The claim against PwC is for damages or equitable compensation of £63m plus exemplary damages, equitable compensation, interest and costs. Watchstone's claim against PwC is for breach of contract and/or breach of confidence and/or breach of fiduciary duty and/or unlawful means conspiracy ("Claim")."
Having read the summary of the action relating to Slater & Gordon, the full verdict of Mr Justice Bryant, the summary of the PwC claim and listened to TW's Bearcast on the matter, I'm convinced that Watchstone have a strong case.
I am not a QC and I have no direct experience of litigation.
I do have experience as a private investor and I'm able to assess information that is put before me.
In my view, PwC have well and truly been caught with their fingers in the till. How might their highly paid, qualified and experienced QC defend them?
Firstly I think it's likely that the figure of £63 million will be argued about. I've only read one line from an email that suggested S&G were considering paying £700m. Unless there's a paper trail showing deeper discussion of £700m; arrangements with lenders to be prepared to lend up to £700m; celebratory emails along the lines of "didn't we do well getting the price down from £700m" then I think we'll struggle.
Were there any deals similar to PSD around the same time that could be used as a benchmark?
The second leg of the claim regarding breach of contract and/or breach of confidence and/or breach of fiduciary duty and/or unlawful means conspiracy looks much stronger.
What on Earth can PwC say to defend or mitigate their actions in regards to the back channel with Greenhills?
It was just two old mates having a coffee?
Greenhills made more of it in order to increase their worth to S&G?
We didn't mention the contacts at the time as it was trivial?
We overlooked mentioning the contacts during the document search because it was so minor?
We had no duty or obligations to WTG as our work for them was over?
We won't disclose the identity of the PwC "Head of Restructuring" because…
This on its own looks to be the stumbling block: refusing to identify the individual hides his emails; his disclosures; his conduct with other companies. If there is nothing to hide, nothing to conceal why not give open disclosure and allow sunlight to disinfect?
My view is that if PwC wish to keep the "Head of Restructuring" anonymous, they'll end up paying Watchstone in order to do so.
""It is possible yet that PWC may settle prior to a hearing..." Yes, it certainly is.
"" They may consider that an out of court settlement would be advantageous in order to: minimise reputational damage.."" Oh, quite, I couldn't agree more. Score in that event,,, PwC 1-0 WTG.
""..retain the anonymity of the Head of Restructuring; "" Yes exactly, that is to their advantage if they have behaved in a less than professional manner, Score: PwC 2-0 WTG.
""...prevent the disclosure of internal correspondence;"" Yes, that is certainly to the advantage of PwC, if they have behaved in a less than professional manner. Score: PwC 3-0 WTG.
""...avoid the distraction of legal proceedings .."" Yes. that is certainly to the advantage of PwC, if they have behaved in a less than professional manner. Score PwC 4-0 WTG
"....and; reduce the compensation to be paid to WTG"". WHY????
If they have behaved unprofessionally and if there is sufficient evidence that they have, (wasn't the word used "shafted"?) done so and effectively conned a company out of money it was rightfully due, why the Hell should PwC get off with THAT too?
No way. WTG should go along keeping it friendly, and then shaft them at the kill. And very good luck to WTG.
If PwC want to keep certain actions they have taken quiet, then there should be a (large) premium for a non-disclosure agreement.
WTG still lose 4-0. I'll console myself with the money. Innocent until proven guilty, after that, pay up, HARD!
I'm not able to do it right now, however the SGH claim court documents; WTG Response RNS contain many damning facts as to what was uncovered.
Not for one minute do I believe the PWC claim will be the only one
About bloody time too
Thank you Grumpy Scouser for posting the link to the Approved Judgement of 28th August 2019.
I had read the summary but not the full judgement. Whilst I can fairly say I know nothing of Civil Law, Mr Justice Bryant does and he's provided a very full account of events involving Quindell/PwC/Greenhills/S&G.
I can certainly see why he considered the actions regarding PwC to be included.
John Skippen, the non-executive chairman of S&G, later referred to as "the most rigorous due diligence I have ever seen".
whether information about Quindell could be obtained by establishing a secret channel with Quindell's lending banks, he arranged to meet with a contact of his at PwC, who he described as "the Head of Restructuring" and the "lead partner" advising Quindell
Fyi, I am sitting down with the head of PwC restructuring who I know very well to have a quiet coffee – time TBA – he claims to be advising the company! Will report back."
Suggestions and requests for information from PwC
I've struggled to find a means of valuing ingenie, however, this very issue was raised as S&G gave some consideration to buying Quindell in its entirety:
Questioned why not by the whole plc? As the bits we don't want are small and easily separable or shut down (as to their value who knows but telematics fascinating technology, cost a lot to buy and could either be worth a fortune or next to nothing – sells for + 30m could be 200m today and ???m tomorrow)
Some indication that S&G at least considered a higher price for PSD
Amongst other matters, there is an internal note of 23 February 2015 which says, amongst other matters, "Maximum price? – (700)". So there is at least some evidential material, that S&G may have been willing to pay more.
Loads of references in emails relating to the usefulness of the PwC contact; priming this individual for specific information and; the need to keep the contact discrete.
It is possible yet that PWC may settle prior to a hearing. They may consider that an out of court settlement would be advantageous in order to: minimise reputational damage; retain the anonymity of the Head of Restructuring; prevent the disclosure of internal correspondence; avoid the distraction of legal proceedings and; reduce the compensation to be paid to WTG.
On the basis of the information I've read, I think that WTG has a strong case. I'm prepared to wait for the issue to be resolved. I bought a few more shares after the initial surge on Friday.
I note everyones favourite share pundit, TW, is reporting a suggestion the first of the QPP gang is to be charged this week.
Hi, Grumpy. RT could get PWC as his adviser . Sure they could facilitate a good price. Perhaps £35 per bottle with a little bit of toing and froing .
£100 per bottle - never let it be said he undervalues things.
What happened to the prolific poster A E Marsh. Has he disappeared?
@addicknt: no idea at all about RT. There was an announcement about him relinquishing all but family company directorships and speculation (total) that it was possibly related to the ongoing SFO investigation which the company was cleared from.
Time will tell: perhaps he's drinking the English sparkling wines he makes and which he values at £100/bottle.
Hi, Grumpy. Pleased to see you guys have at last got some cash back and hopefully more to come.
Have there been any further rumours/info on what's happening re RT?
It's...denies and will vigorously defend the claim
you haven't read the background from last year (which EK clearly has not) :