1 Norman Foster vs Ken Shuttleworth
Norman Foster took a leaf out of Stalin’s book when he doctored a photograph in a belated attempt to distance himself from former colleague Ken Shuttleworth. The two had fallen out after Ken gave an interview to Building in which he claimed much of the glory for the Swiss Re. He left shortly after to found Make. Foster (we presume) responded by moving him 5m to the left in a group photo.
2 Alfred vs Sir Robert
The lawyers had a busy time in 2004 when publicly quoted Alfred McAlpine changed its trading name to “McAlpine”. Family firm Sir Robert McAlpine, a distant cousin of Alfred, issued an injunction to stop the name change on the ground that Alfred would be “passing itself off” as Sir Robert. Alfred denied this, and the pair ended up at the High Court. After some mud slinging – Alfred was accused of having a “poor payment record” – Mr Justice Mann ruled that Alfred McAlpine must not use the name without the “Alfred” prefix.
3 The McCarthys, and McCarthy and Stone
One of construction’s most famous housebuilding families raised the City temperature in 2003 when Spencer and Clinton McCarthy, the sons of John, the McCarthy and Stone founder and chair, made a £600m offer to buy the company.
Dad John supported the bid, but the rest of the board rejected it, prompting Keith Lovelock, the chief executive to announce: “I’m not sure what the outcome of all this will be. John is on a fixed-term contract which expires in December.”
McCarthy senior duly “retired” from the board of the company he started and the following year sold his stake for £74m. After a second failed bid recently, the McCarthys are once again tipped to renew their interest in the firm that bears their name before too long.
4 The Millers
It wasn’t a happy Christmas for the Miller clan in 2007. A group of shareholders led by James Miller, Keith Miller’s cousin and a former chairman of Miller Group, said it planned to sell its 64% stake in the company. It was February before the group struck a deal with Keith Miller that allowed its members to sell their shares on Miller’s internal market.
Miller would not reveal which shareholders had departed but said the dispute had been caused by the “liquidity requirements” of some shareholders. The Bank of Scotland then purchased an undisclosed stake in the business, leading Keith Miller to proclaim that the dispute had been resolved “completely and forever.”
5 Pidgely and son
Back in 2003, Tony Pidgely junior launched a coup at his father’s Berkeley Group housebuilder. He made a £1bn bid for the company, which had been founded by his father. He quickly abandoned the idea after his dad effectively told him to behave himself.
Review of the Decade 2000-2009
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