Barclays employees were recorded talking about going behind a client’s back to make a competing bid for a takeover target, according to phone transcripts being used as evidence in a lawsuit against the lender.
Bloomberg reports that CF Partners (U.K.) LLP is suing Barclays in London over the bank’s $173m takeover of carbon-trading firm Tricorona AB in 2010. CF Partners claims it hired the bank two years earlier to work on a bid for Tricorona and Barclays then used confidential information to make its own offer.
Transcripts of phone calls read out by CF Partners’ lawyer Tim Lord indicate Barclays’ employees discussed buying Tricorona as early as 2009, while urging caution because of an exclusivity agreement with CF Partners.
'We could buy it', one employee said in a call to another. 'We’ve done all the work'.
'Let’s not get ourselves in legal trouble', the same employee said in another call read out in court. 'I wouldn’t put anything down in writing' and even calls can be taped.
Aurelie Leonard, a Barclays spokeswoman, said the case is without merit and the bank will fight the claim.
'Barclays never had an advisory relationship with CF Partners', Leonard said in an e-mailed statement. 'Barclays has traded carbon since 2004 and is one of the world’s largest emissions traders” and, as a result, “already had a relationship with Tricorona before it had any involvement with CF Partners'.
Lord, who is seeking more information including additional call transcripts to prepare a case, said at a court hearing Monday the Barclays workers were discussing 'whether they can get themselves out of the legal restrictions that prevent them from doing this deal'.
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