A contract to sell the disputed Barne Estate in Co Tipperary to an Irish property developer in the United States has been agreed, The Irish Times has learned.
The 751-acre estate outside Clonmel is the subject of a case in the Commercial Court involving its owners and the Irish billionaire horse breeder and businessman John Magnier.
He is alleging that a sale was agreed between Richard Thomson-Moore, the beneficial owner and the Jersey-based trust that is its legal owner, on August 22nd this year. He claims they agreed a price of €15 million for the estate and shook hands on the deal at a meeting in his home at Coolmore House.
Mr Magnier states he paid a €250,000 deposit for the land, lodged the full amount with his solicitors and paid for a tillage licence to plough the land on the basis that he had a “binding agreement” to purchase it.
The sum is €1.5 million above the asking price of €13.5 million when the prized farm, which has been in the same family since the 17th century, was put on the market in July.
The estate, which is mostly fertile tillage land, comes with a three-storey, 12-bedroom mansion house modelled on an 18th-century French chateau with manicured lawns in front running down to a lake that is stocked with trout.
Mr Thomson-Moore and the trustees are disputing that a sale ever took place.
Instead, they have agreed to sell the estate to Maurice Regan, the owner of the New York-based construction firm JT Magen. He also is one of two shareholders in the Mercantile Group, which runs venues in Dublin such as Café en Seine and The George. He owns a 550-acre farm in Co Tipperary and has some 200 acres elsewhere in the county.
A source confirmed that contracts for the sale of the property were signed in recent days and the proposed purchase price is above €20 million.
The final sale of the estate will be subject to the outcome of the case that is back before the Commercial Court on December 18th. Mr Thomson-Moore and the trust are likely to seek that the matter be struck out on that date.
A spokesman for Mr Magnier’s Coolmore Stud declined to comment on matters that are before the courts.