Naguib Sawiris, chairman of the Italian telecommunications company Weather Investments SpA, said a UK appeals court cut the $100m award he was ordered to pay an adviser on an acquisition.
The award, to Italian businessman Alessandro Benedetti, was reduced to 14.5m euros yesterday by the Court of Appeal in London, according to a statement from Sawiris’s law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Benedetti, who advised on Weather’s purchase of Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA, Italy's third largest mobile phone company, was also ordered to pay Sawiris more than 10m euros in legal fees, the law firm said.
“My family and I are very happy that justice was served and that we can now put this issue to rest,” Sawaris, chairman of the Rome based telecommunications and Internet company, said in the statement.
Benedetti’s 2007 lawsuit against the Egyptian billionaire claimed he was entitled to a one-third stake in Rome based Weather as compensation for devising Wind’s acquisition strategy. The stake was worth “billions,” Benedetti’s spokesman William Clutterbuck said during a 31 day trial. A judge in June 2009 rejected the claim and awarded the cash payment.
Clutterbuck didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Weather purchased 63 percent of Wind for 3 billion euros from Enel SpA in a 2005 transaction and took on about 7 billion euros of debt, according to Bloomberg data. Weather in 2006 purchased the remaining stake for 1.96 billion euros.
The case is Benedetti v. Sawiris, High Court of Justice Chancery Division, HC07C2262.