The hopes of Charlton Athletic being under new ownership soon were handed a massive boost today – as a judge decided not to impose an injunction preventing the club being sold.
Paul Elliott had been seeking to block Panorama Magic, who own 65 per cent of East Street Investments, from being able to strike a deal with any other interested party.
But His Honour Judge Richard Pearce, sitting in Manchester Civil Justice Centre, ruled against imposing an injunction which would have thrown the club’s future into doubt.
Panorama Magic were represented by Lauren Kreamer, who had been a member of Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust board but who has stepped down from that role to avoid any perception of conflict.
And Pearce was clearly concerned about the serious threat to the Addicks’ existence if Elliott, who brought his case via his company Lex Dominus, did gain an injunction – with the case not likely to be heard until at least November.
“There must be a risk that if Panorama Magic is restrained from dealing with the shares in the football club – a potential buyer could be turned away because of that injunction,” said Pearce.
“While at the same time Lex Dominus Limited may be prevented , by itself, effectively running the club – having brought the shares having a very serious consequence for the football club.
“In those circumstances it seems the balance of convenience lies against the grant of an injunction, on these facts. This is an unusual case, it must be said, but each case turns on its own facts.
“And on all the evidence I’ve seen on this case – together with the submissions I have heard – I’m satisfied that the balance of convenience here lies against the issue of an injunction but in favour of there being a speedy trial.
“Given the time and given the potential need to protect the position of any party who seeks to consider appealing my judgement, I will adjourn any application for permission to appeal to the consequential hearing [tomorrow] so that issue doesn’t have to be separately dealt with this evening.”
What it means is that Panorama Magic, which own a controlling 65 per cent stake in ESI, can press ahead with negotiations to sell the football club.
Danish businessman Thomas Sandgaard is in pole position and the US-based businessman has been in London since Saturday as he looks to knock his bid into shape.
The 62-year-old was at Saturday’s friendly against Crystal Palace and once again in the directors’ box for tonight’s EFL Trophy tie against AFC Wimbledon.
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