Business World

Thursday 19 April 2018

Billionaire's group sueing Irish firm over alleged breach of confidence

Tom Lyons

American multibillionaire Stephen Schwarzman's Blackstone Group has filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court against United Drug alleging it breached a highly sensitive confidentiality agreement.

Blackstone, which has assets of $18bn (€14.5bn), claims United Drug's chief executive Liam FitzGerald disclosed sensitive information about one of its companies after his company had signed a confidentiality agreement.

United Drug denies all wrongdoing. Blackstone claims that one of its businesses called Catalent Pharma Solutions was trying to sell its American commercial pharmaceutical division for $80m (€64.7m).

Its suit alleges that United Drug had expressed an interest in the business and months of confidential talks ensued. However it claims that in November Mr FitzGerald mentioned that the business was up for sale twice publicly in conference calls.

"We are also benefiting from the fact that the third player in the market, Catalent, is currently going through a sale process and has been under-invested through its private-equity owners over the last couple of years, and as a result of those two changes we are picking up a lot of clients from that business," Mr FitzGerald allegedly said in one of the calls.

On July 10, Blackstone sued United Drug for unspecified damages alleging that this disclosure damaged the sale price it eventually achieved and caused its division to lose customers to rivals.

United Drug said it "strongly refutes" all allegations of wrongdoing and will defend its position "vigorously".

Mr Schwarzman, who has met Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss Ireland's financial crisis, is America's 57th richest man with a €4.5bn fortune.

Sunday Indo Business

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