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Contracts, Business and Alcohol – not always good mix

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Contracts, Business and Alcohol – not always a good mix

Mike Ashley, Sports Direct boss and owner of Newcastle United football club, emerged victorious from a recent £15m High Court case over an alleged deal made in a pub.

Investment banker Jeffrey Blue claimed that he and Ashley had agreed a verbal contract which would see Blue be entitled to a bonus based on the share price performance of retail giant Sports Direct.  Whilst Ashley admitted to making the offer, the very nature of the meeting, its setting (in a Pub) and the large amount of alcohol consumed, meant that it was quite clear that he wasn’t being serious.

Judge Justice Leggatt, ruling in Mr Ashley's favour, said:

"No reasonable person present... would have thought that the offer to pay Mr Blue £15m was serious and was intended to create a contract. They all thought it was a joke. The fact that Mr Blue has since convinced himself that the offer was a serious one, and that a legally binding agreement was made, shows only that the human capacity for wishful thinking knows few bounds."

Justice Leggatt also added that Mr Blue would have to pick up Mr Ashley's legal bill of £1.5m, in addition to his own costs.

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