By brocs1, Dec 10 2020 10:23AM
The recent decision in the case of Bell v Ivy Technology Ltd  EWCA Civ 1563, If anything, reminds us of how crucial the drafting of a Share Purchase Agreement can be and how the facts should marry up with reality.
In April 2019, Ivy Technology Ltd entered into a share and purchase agreement for the purchase of shares in five companies. Prior to the completion of the share purchase agreement, it was disclosed that although Mr Bell (second defendant) was not a party to the share purchase agreement, he did in fact, beneficially own 50% of the shares along with Mr Martin (first defendant) who owned the remaining 50%. This was of course significantly different to what the share purchase agreement stated, in that, Mr Martin held “all beneficial rights, title and interest in and to” the individually held shares, and that no other person was entitled to any right in and to such shares – such disclosure to Ivy Technology Ltd was not undisputed.
Ivy Technology Ltd brought a case claiming it was fraudulently misrepresented by Mr Martin; breach of warranty and a claim in restitution argument was also advanced. As Mr Bell was not named on the share purchase agreement, a claim against Mr bell was initially founded in tort rather than contract.
The claimant, Ivy, issued an application for permission to amend its claim form and particulars to include Mr Bell in its breach of warranty claim. The application at first instance concluded that the claimant had real prospect of succeeding in its contention that Mr Bell was liable for breach of the share purchase agreement, even though he was not named as a party and permission to amend was given.
The second defendant, being Mr Bell appealed this decision and the Court of Appeal dismissed each of the 3 grounds and upheld the earlier decision that the Claimant was granted permission to amend its claim to include a claim for breach of warranties against the second defendant. Amongst the reasons the CoA gave, they stated that they could not rule out the possibility of Mr Bell being held liable under the contract at trial once a factual investigation had taken place and the reasons why he was not named as a contracting party becomes known. The court contended that an explanation was required as to why the share purchase agreement failed to name Mr Bell as a party to the contract.
If you are looking to sell your shares or make a purchase and you are unsure about how you are affected or what your rights may be then do contact our specialist team at Summerfield Browne Solicitors on 0800 567 7595 or email [email protected]