Peter Waddell in High CourtPeter Waddell in High Court

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Day 2: Peter Waddell lays out demands as High Court hearing enters second day

  • Peter Waddell willing to do a deal over director status at Big Motoring World
  • Lawyers tell High Court that the 56-year-old is willing to let someone else be his ‘eyes and ears’
  • Company founder hits out at process that saw him ousted from the business
  • Details of Waddell’s removal from the company he founded are read out in court

Time 7:51 am, May 23, 2024

Big Motoring World founder Peter Waddell is prepared to drop his calls to be reinstated as a director of the company – but only if certain demands are met.

That’s according to his legal team who have been making submissions to the High Court in London.

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

Yesterday (May 22), we brought you the news 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.

However, during the afternoon’s evidence, Waddell’s lawyer said his client was prepared ‘not to push’ the claim if certain demands are met.

Firstly, he wants Bluebell Cars – part of investment group Freshstream – to honour voting rights agreed with him as part of its initial investment deal.

The agreement said that Freshstream would not make any ‘material changes to the business or group’ without the written permission of Waddell.

Since being ousted, his lawyers say he has been ‘frozen out’.

Secondly, he is demanding the chance to appoint a non-executive director to the board so that they can act as his ‘eyes and ears’ at Big Motoring World.

It is currently unclear whether the investors are willing to agree to such terms, or whether any new non-executive director would have voting rights.

The offer was laid out yesterday afternoon by Waddell’s lawyer, Paul Chaisty KC.

He told the court: ‘He is content not to push the issue if he secures his Schedule 1 [voting] rights.

‘In order to make that happen he wants to be able to appoint a non-executive director – a professional who would be able to be the eyes and ears of Mr Waddell.’


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 amid a breakdown in relations between himself and Freshstream, but no official reasons were given for his departure.

Yesterday afternoon, Court 6 of the Royal Courts of Justice’s Rolls Building was told that his dismissal was linked to 31 allegations of misconduct, of which ‘four or five’ were recent.

These allegations included a comment about the appearance of a female Freshstream employee and threatening to sack a member of staff for gross misconduct, the court heard.

In response to the claims, the investors set up an independent investigation that Waddell’s lawyers described as ‘very questionable’.

The court was told that the inquiry began on March 7 – the day Waddell was appearing on stage at our Car Dealer Live event as a headline speaker – with Waddell’s solicitors asking for full details of the allegations on March 13.

After making further chases on March 18, they were told a day later that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to provide details of the allegations to Waddell and his team.

Waddell was later signed off sick by a doctor, and despite being ‘eager to co-operate with the investigation’, his requests for more time to respond were denied.

Chaisty said the independent investigator was then ‘instructed to come to a conclusion’ on April 9 despite having concerns that he had not yet spoken to Waddell.

When asked by the judge if he thought the investors had been motivated by a desire to get rid of Waddell, Chaisty replied: ‘Absolutely.’

‘The investigation should have been undertaken within the basic principles of justice,’ he later added.

‘We say a very questionable process was adopted.

‘The investor did not act reasonably when it decided to trigger the investigation because of the historic nature of those allegations.

‘Only four or five were close to January and February 2024.’

Waddell sold a third of Big Motoring World to private equity backer Freshstream in April 2022.

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 are expected to give their own evidence today (Thursday) 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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