Paul Weiss successfully defends Citi against Guy Hands’ EMI action

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison partner Ted Wells has sealed victory for  Citigroup in a court action brought by the founder of private equity group Terra Firma.

Guy Hands
Guy Hands

Guy Hands had accused Citi banker David Wormsley of misleading him into paying over the odds for EMI Group by pretending that rival private equity house Cerberus was also planning to make a bid, despite knowing that it was not.

In Manhattan Federal Court Hands claimed that in the run up to the auction for the record company Wormsley had lied to him in a number of telephone calls about Cerberus’s involvement.

Hands’ lawyer David Boies, managing partner of Boies Schiller & Flexner, argued that it “did not make common sense” that Wormsley, an adviser to EMI, would not have known that Cerberus had actually pulled out of the bidding race.

However, Wells argued that in corporate America any conversations between Hands and Wormsley would have been written down, stating that the absence of records proves the conversations did not take place.

The eight-person jury before District Judge Jed Rakoff agreed, finding unanimously in favour of Citi.

In addition to Wells, the Paul Weiss team included partners Jay Cohen and Jack Baughman and relationship partner Brad Karp.

When Terra Firma bought EMI for £3.2bn in 2007 the private equity house turned to Weil Gotshal & Manges for advice, with corporate partners Marco Compagnoni and Ian Hamilton leading (22 May 2007). EMI was advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Mark Rawlinson.

Citi was advised on the transaction by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton partner Andrew Shutter (4 June 2007).