Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has won a High Court battle with investment banker Jeffrey Blue over a £15 million deal allegedly made in a London pub.
Mr Ashley was not in court to hear the judge deliver his ruling, but his lawyers said he had won a “comprehensive” victory.
He said he had met Mr Blue and three other finance specialists at the pub and ‘consumed a lot of alcohol’.
“I can’t remember the details of the conversations that we had in the pub as it was a heavy night of drinking,” Mr Ashley had said.
“I do remember that we had a lot of drinks and a lot of banter.
“If I did say to Mr Blue that I would pay him £15 million if he could increase (Sports Direct’s) share price to £8, it would be obvious to everyone, including Mr Blue, that I wasn’t being serious.”
He said he paid Mr Blue, who he called ‘Jeffers’, £1 million for ‘other deals’ unrelated to the night in the Horse and Groom.
Mr Blue told the judge that Mr Ashley was a ‘serious businessman’’.
He said the work ethic at Sports Direct was ‘like nothing else I have ever seen’.
But he said Mr Ashley sometimes did business ‘in unorthodox ways and in unusual venues’.
He told how Mr Ashley once vomited into a fireplace after a senior management meeting that was ‘effectively a pub lock-in’ and said the businessman would take naps under tables at ‘boring’ meetings.
Mr Justice Leggatt told lawyers, at the end of the trial, that the case had been ‘a lot more interesting than some’.