Grant Thornton to settle with AssetCo for £28m

Grant Thornton has signalled it does not intend to mount a further legal challenge against a record claim for damages brought by former client AssetCo, and will settle the claim, paying some £28m to the AIM-listed outsourcer

Earlier this summer, Grant Thornton went to the Court of Appeal, in an attempt to overturn the damages, which were awarded for the negligent audit of AssetCo’s accounts for the years ended 31 March 2009 and 2010. [AssetCo and Grant Thornton [2020] EWCA Civ 1151].

Grant Thornton’s appeal was against an earlier ruling by the High Court which found its auditing of AssetCo to be a ‘flagrant breach of professional standards’, exhibiting failures ‘of the utmost gravity’.

However, the Court of Appeal dismissed the firm’s case, leaving Grant Thornton with only the option of seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Now AssetCo has released a regulatory update stating: ‘AssetCo is pleased to announce that it was informed today by Grant Thornton that it does not intend to seek permission from the Supreme Court to appeal against the Judgment of the Court of Appeal handed down on 28 August 2020.’

As a result, Grant Thornton is set to pay AssetCo some £28m. Calculation of the payments is to be confirmed, but the High Court ruled the damages awarded to AssetCo should be reduced from £29.8m to £20.8m, before a 25% deduction for contributory negligence.

Now AssetCo has reported it is due £15.6m in damages plus interest accrued to date of £7.6m and an interim payment of costs of £5.25m.

A spokesperson for Grant Thornton UK said: ‘Following our recent partially successful appeal, we have decided not to pursue a further appeal, in order to conclude this matter.

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