News Thomas Molloy

Friday 22 August 2014

Don't expect this to be a final chapter in saga with the Barclay brothers

Thomas Molloy

Published 06/03/2014 | 02:30

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The Connaught Hotel

TWO years ago, the only picture most newspapers had of Paddy McKillen was a 1989 photo of the young developer dressed in a tuxedo.

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Finding photos of the once reclusive Mr McKillen these days is no problem as he has been forced out of the shadows thanks to a seemingly endless series of court appearances in Dublin and London.

Mr McKillen says he has spent around €20m on legal fees already but both he and his arch nemeses, the Barclay brothers, appear to have endless funds when it comes to legal actions. So it is likely that yesterday's news is not the final chapter. What happens next is difficult to predict, but Mr McKillen made it clear to this newspaper yesterday that he plans to prevent the Barclay Brothers from proceeding with any hostile takeover of the hotels that the three men own together.

Mr McKillen appears to be in a good position to prevent a takeover, but David and Frederick Barclay have previously won a five-month legal fight for control of the hotel's holding company – and control of five of the six seats on the board of the company which owns the Berkeley, Claridge's and the Connaught. Whatever happens, it is unlikely that Mr McKillen will be broken by this disagreement. The man, who made his first fortune from the family company, DC Exhausts, has several other business interests.

He is a joint owner of the Clarence Hotel in Dublin along with Bono, and has investments in Asia and South America as well as a 21-story office tower in Boston, shopping centres in Dublin and Belfast and a 200-acre French vineyard peppered with sculptures and art works.

Both Mr McKillen and the Barclays, who are even richer, seem determined not to back down but while common sense suggests the status quo cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely, going on past form there will be further fireworks before a solution is found.

Irish Independent

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