Watchstone Group plc
("Watchstone" or the "Group")
Prospective claim by Slater and Gordon
Further to its announcement on 30 November 2016, Watchstone Group plc (LON:WTG) has now received further correspondence from a firm of solicitors acting for Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH) ("SGH") stating that it intends to issue proceedings by the end of this month. Its letter states that SGH intends to make a claim for a total amount of approximately £600m on the basis that but for fraudulent misrepresentation it would not have entered into the transaction at all.
A groundless claim for fraudulent misrepresentation was dismissed by the independent barrister in respect of the warranty escrow process relating to the sale of the Professional Services Division in November 2016 ("Opinion"). The Opinion, which was formed on the basis of evidence provided by both SGH and Watchstone, stated that a misrepresentation claim was not a bona fide claim with a better than 50 per cent prospect of success.
Watchstone denies any misrepresentation in the strongest terms and remains satisfied that neither the warranty claim nor a misrepresentation claim have merit and will defend such claims robustly if proceedings are brought.
Despite multiple requests, SGH has continuously declined to disclose key evidence in its possession which would be relevant to the merits and quantum of its purported claims. Watchstone believes this evidence will be available to it in the event that SGH issues proceedings and it intends to seek disclosure of such information at the earliest possible opportunity.
Watchstone will make further announcements in due course, as appropriate.
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