Cinema dispute mediation fails
A last-ditch bid to divide five cinemas worth €33 million between the Anderson and Ward families failed to prevent them from taking a long-running dispute to the High Court yesterday.
Paul Anderson launched the High Court action to wind up Dublin Cinema Group, which owns the Savoy in Dublin and the Cork Omniplex, in the latest stage in a dispute with fellow shareholder and director, Paul Ward.
Yesterday’s hearing began after Mr Ward rejected an offer from Mr Anderson aimed at resolving a long-running dispute between the two and their families, who own the cinema business.
Under the offer’s terms, Mr Ward and his family could have taken ownership of either the Omniplex in Cork, which is worth €15 million, or the Savoy in Dublin, which is worth €8.3 million.
Along with that, the Andersons said the Wards could take any of the group’s other three cinemas, the Screen in Dublin and Omniplexes in Santry and Tullamore, Co Offaly, and the “opportunity” to develop a cinema on St Stephen’s Green, which is valued at €2 million. The properties have been independently valued at €33 million.
The offer came after Mr Justice Peter Charleton of the High Court ordered both sides on Tuesday to go into mediation. The deadline for acceptance passed yesterday morning.
As the offer was not accepted, Mr Anderson went ahead with his action. If it succeeds, the business will be placed in liquidation and the cinemas are likely to be sold as going concerns and the proceeds divided among the company’s shareholders.
The Anderson and Ward families effectively own the cinema group 50-50. Relations between them soured when Mr Anderson attempted to develop a cinema independently of the group on Stephen’s Green in 2009.