Sorrell-Benatti Battle Settled Out of Court

16 October 2008

LONDON: News that the Sir Martin Sorrell vs Marco Benatti stand-off has been settled out of court reportedly reduced composer-impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber to weeping in a darkened room, inconsolable over his shattered dream to stage a musical based on the events that led to the High Court saga.

It was provisionally titled Phantom of the Takeover or Don't Cry for Me, Marco Mio.

The book for the show, had it been staged, would have been based on the acrimonious correspondence between the two admen in which Benatti referred to Sorrell in unflattering terms such as "the mad dwarf".

Sadly, however, the West End and Broadway are now to be denied this mega-spectacle, following an agreement between the parties on Wednesday to withdraw their respective lawsuits.

The feud between the duo dates back to 2006, when Benatti was dismissed as country manager of WPP Italia, on grounds that he failed to disclose his substantial personal holding  in MediaClub, an Italian agency acquired by WPP four years earlier.

WPP sought some €16 million (£12.5m, $21.85m) in compensation for alleged deception and "secret" profit-skimming. Benatti denied wrongdoing and filed a counterclaim for unfair dismissal.

A joint statement issued by the two sides states: "WPP and Marco Benatti have agreed to a full and final settlement of the disputes between them, which are the subject of the proceedings currently before the English High Court and related proceedings in Italy."

So why this eleventh-hours sweet reasonableness? 

Insiders say the rapprochement will permit the former adversaries to progress an unrelated business deal concerning Fullsix, an Italian media agency owned by Benatti.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff