In re Bird Precision Bellows Ltd: ChD 1984

The court considered the method of valuation of a minority shareholding in a forced purchase by the other shareholders. Nourse J said: ‘I would expect that in a majority of cases where purchase orders are made under section 75 in relation to quasi-partnerships the vendor is unwilling in the sense that the sale has been forced upon him. Usually he will be a minority shareholder whose interests have been unfairly prejudiced by the manner in which the affairs of the company have been conducted by the majority. On the assumption that the unfair prejudice has made it no longer tolerable for him to retain his interest in the company, a sale of his shares will invariably be his only practical way out short of a winding up. In that kind of case it seems to me that it would not merely not be fair, but most unfair, that he should be bought out on the fictional basis applicable to a free election to sell his shares in accordance with the company’s articles of association, or indeed on any other basis which involved a discounted price. In my judgment the correct course would be to fix the price pro rata according to the value of the shares as a whole and without any discount, as being the only fair method of compensating an unwilling vendor of the equivalent of a partnership share.’
‘In the case of the shareholder who acquires shares from another at a price which is discounted because they represent a minority it is to my mind self-evident that there cannot be any universal or even a general rule that he should be bought out under section 75 on a more favourable basis, even in a case where his predecessor has been a quasi-partner in a quasi-partnership. He might himself have acquired the shares purely for investment and played no part in the affairs of the company. In that event it might well be fair – I do not know – that he should be bought out on the same basis as he himself had bought, even though his interests had been unfairly prejudiced in the meantime. A fortiori, there could be no universal or even a general rule in a case where the company had never been a quasi-partnership in the first place.
In summary, there is in my judgment no rule of universal application. On the other hand, there is a general rule in a case where the company is at the material time a quasi-partnership and the purchase order is made in respect of the shares of a quasi-partner . . It seems clear to me that . . that is [namely, a valuation on a non-discounted basis], in general, the fair basis of valuation in a quasi-partnership case, and that it should be applied in this case unless the respondents have established that the petitioners acted in such a way as to deserve their exclusion from the company.’

Nourse J
[1984] 3 All ER 444, [1984] Ch 419, [1984] BCLC 195, [1983] 1 BCC 98, [1984] 2 WLR 869
Companies Act 1948 75, Companies Act 1980 75
England and Wales
CitedIn re Jermyn Street Turkish Baths Ltd ChD 1970
Where an order provides for the purchase of the shares of a delinquent majority shareholder in a company in an oppression suit, the shares were to be valued on an inquiry as at the date of the petition.
Pennycuick J said: ‘Section 210 gives the . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromIn re Bird Precision Bellows Ltd CA 1986
The company which was formed to combine one party’s expertise in the manufacturing of precision bellows with the general experience of two others in financial, commercial and industrial matters. For several years the company’s affairs had worked . .
CitedCVC/Opportunity Equity Partners Limited and Opportunity Invest II Limited v Luis Roberto Demarco Almeida PC 21-Mar-2002
(Cayman Islands) The respondent was a minority shareholder. An offer was made to buy out his interest. He petitioned for the winding up of the company on the just and equitable ground. The claimants obtained an injunction to prevent him doing so, . .
CitedIrvine and others v Irvine and Another ChD 23-Mar-2006
The court had made an order for the purchase of a minority shareholding after finding prejudicial behaviour by the majority. It now considered valuation of the shares in a 49.96% shareholding. The question was whether the valuation should be . .
CitedIn the Matter of Pectel Limited; O’Neill; O’Neill v Phillips; Phillips and Pectel Limited CA 1-May-1997
The petitioners sought either the purchase of their shares, or the winding up of the company alleging unfair prejudice in the management of the company. The defendants argued that what was complained of did not fall within section 459 since it was . .
CitedSeery v Leathes Prior (A Firm) QBD 24-Jan-2017
The claimant alleged professional negligence against his former solicitors in the settlement of his claim against his former partners.
Held: The claim failed. There had been no clear duty to give the advice the claimant said should have been . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.192623