Peter Waddell High Court compositePeter Waddell High Court composite

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Day 1: Big Motoring World founder Peter Waddell appears at High Court as future hangs in balance

  • Car Dealer reports from Royal Courts of Justice as Peter Waddell makes appearance
  • Big Motoring World founder is seeking an ‘interim injunction’ to allow him to return to the business
  • Lawyer says industry legend has been ‘completely removed from the business he spent 40 years building’

Time 2:01 pm, May 22, 2024

Big Motoring World founder Peter Waddell is today appearing at the High Court as his future at the company continues to hang in the balance.

Car Dealer reported in April that the larger-than-life leader had been ousted as a director of the car supermarket group by the holding company.

Waddell told Car Dealer at the time that he was planning to take legal action and proceedings today got under way with an application for interim relief.

The 56-year-old is seeking an interim injunction that would allow him to return to the business ahead of a full trial, likely to take place later this year or early 2025.

The parties briefly appeared in Court 6 of the Royal Courts of Justice’s Rolls Building about 10.30am before quickly leaving for further talks.

A source close to the case told Car Dealer outside court that negotiations were under way regarding a potential deal for Waddell.

However, all parties later returned to court about 12.30pm when proceedings got under way.

Among the defendants named on court documents were Bapchild Motoring World and fellow investors Bluebell Cars – both linked to venture capitalists Freshstream. Several of the firm’s directors were also listed, including partner Reza Fardad.

Waddell’s lawyer, Paul Chaisty KC, began the hearing by telling the court that his client should be allowed to return to the management team of Big Motoring World.

He added that the defendants ‘cannot be allowed to run riot without any checks’.

‘Mr Waddell is the majority shareholder,’ he told the court. ‘The whole deal [with the investors] was built on the basis of protective measures being in place.

‘In just four to five weeks he was completely removed from the business he spent 40 years building.’

Speaking before the court broke for lunch at 1pm, Chaisty said that the defendants in the case had made 31 allegations of misconduct against Waddell, some of them historic, which he has chosen not to respond to.

He added that the investors had made no attacks on his client’s ‘skills or business acumen’ and had only accused him of ‘saying various things to employees’.

The lawyer added: ‘They [the defendants] have made no meaningful attempt to say what damage would actually be suffered [if Waddell returned] other than to say certain senior members of staff would leave.’

Waddell, who is said to have personal net assets in excess of £20m, has been taking a ‘leave of absence’ since March 8 from the used car dealership group he has built over the past 40 years.

He is believed to have been pushed out of the business, but no reasons have yet been given for his departure.

His sister was also removed as the firm’s financial director, the court was told.

Waddell sold a third of Big Motoring World to private equity backer Freshstream in April 2022. The relationship between the two parties is said to have soured since.

The court was told a full trial ‘ought to be achievable by November’ and is expected to last between seven and 10 days.

The defendants have yet to give their own evidence and the case continues.

Update: Since this article was published Peter Waddell is no longer seeking to be reinstated as a director of Big Motoring World and is instead calling to be handed back back voting and information rights as shareholder of the business

Composite image copyright © Blackball Media 2024

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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