Brit Media Moguls in Legal Brawl Over £9m Tax Dispute

23 May 2002

A dispute that turns more rancid by the day between two very different media magnates is to go to full trial following a rejected application by Lord Clive Hollick for a fast-track hearing.

Hollick, a Labour peer, former owner of Express Newspapers, and chief executive of United Business Media, had sought an early hearing of his case against pornographer Richard Desmond, now the proud owner of Hollick’s daily and Sunday national newspaper titles which sit uneasily alongside his less savoury stable of top shelf titles.

The case revolves around payment of a £9 million ($13.11m; €14.18m) tax liability that Hollick claims is due under the terms of his £125m deal with Desmond. But the judge insisted that it go to full trial – likely to be at least six months hence.

Meantime, industry observers are enjoying the piquant scenario of the warring tycoons inhabiting the same headquarters office block in London’s Blackfriars district.

The building is owned by UBM and sub-let in part to Express Newspapers, a situation that allows the duo to bicker to their hearts’ content over such corporate fundamentals as who pays the electricity bills and which captain of industry ordered the shuttering of the building’s staff restaurant?

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff