Roger Pearson reports on a row between hairdresser Nicky Clarke and his
wife, and a firm with shares in the couple's company.
A legal battle in a complex shares row involving celebrity hairdresser
Nicky Clarke and his wife Lesley is back on course for the High Court after
being reinstated by the Court of Appeal.
The action has been brought against the Clarkes and their companies,
Southern Tropics and Kasmare, by North Holdings which holds shares in
North is seeking an order that the Clarkes purchase its Southern Tropics
shares at a price to be decided by the courts.
The High Court struck out the claim in July last year on the basis that an
offer had been made by the Clarkes to buy the shares and that there was no
realistic chance of a court order being made in those circumstances.
However, the Appeal Court has now overturned that decision and has ruled
that the case should be allowed to be heard after all.
Lord Justice Aldous said in his Appeal Court ruling that despite Nicky
Clarke's popularity and high turnover at his Mount Street, London, salon,
the business "has not in general made profits".
But he said that the Clarkes' hair-care products side of the business is
Accounts for the year ending 28 February last year showed a gross profit
of u2.26m and an operating profit of nearly u1m.
And, after paying a dividend of u400,000, there was a retained profit of
just over u226,000.
Out of that business, Clarke and his wife and two other employees were
paid about u313,000, said the judge.
The judge said that North became involved with the Clarkes in 1990 when it
loaned Southern Tropics u60,000 and as part of the deal obtained 350
However, Lord Justice Aldous said that by 1993, North was unhappy with the
way Southern Tropics was being run and in 1997 launched the moves to force
the Clarkes to buy the shares.
He said North complained that, among other things, the Clarkes had failed
to account for profits made from the development and sale of hair-care
products and had challenged the use of Clarke's name in connection with
North had also complained that the Clarkes had drawn "salary and benefits"
in excess of their entitlements.
Lord Justice Aldous said he considered that North's appeal should be
allowed and the case should now be re-considered.
No timetable has been set for this.