The Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear an appeal of a loss suffered by financier Newton Glassman’s Catalyst Capital Group Inc., marking the end of a long and bitter legal saga over the 2014 sale of wireless provider Wind Mobile to rival private equity fund West Face Capital.
Catalyst had applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal after the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling that the company’s $1.3-billion lawsuit was “an abuse of process” because it was too similar to another suit that Mr. Newton’s company had filed against West Face.
In the original case, Catalyst had accused one of its former employees, Brandon Moyse, of passing on confidential details of its failed negotiations for Wind to West Face. A judge ruled against catalyst in August 2016, and the decision was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal in February 2018. The Supreme Court did not agree to hear an appeal in the case involving Mr. Moyse.
The second suit that Catalyst filed relating to the Wind Mobile negotiations involved West Face, former Wind owner VimpelCom Ltd., and a number of other defendants including Globalive Capital Inc., UBS Securities Canada Inc. and Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC.
At the heart of Catalyst’s claim was an allegation that confidential information about its negotiations to acquire Wind were leaked, which allowed the West Face group to win the deal. However, the court found that Catalyst walked away from the deal after it refused to agree to a $5-million to $20-million break fee it would pay to Wind’s owners if the deal did not close.
In its leave to appeal, filed with the Supreme Court in August, Catalyst argued that the case involving VimpelCom is different from the litigation involving Mr. Moyse. “No allegations were made against [Mr.] Moyse in the VimpelCom action,” reads Catalyst’s leave to appeal.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court dismissed Catalyst’s leave to appeal the case and ordered Catalyst to compensate West Face for its legal costs. The exact amount that Catalyst will have to pay has yet to be determined.
Dan Gagnier, a spokesman for Catalyst, said the company is “deeply disappointed" by the outcome.
“Catalyst was never permitted to obtain fulsome and proper disclosure and discovery from all of the defendants of their dealings during the course of the acquisition,” Mr. Gagnier said in an e-mail. “As a consequence, there has been no judicial determination on the actual merits of the claim asserted against the defendants in this case.”
Although the decision marks the end of the road for Catalyst regarding the Wind Mobile deal, Mr. Glassman and his colleagues have two other outstanding lawsuits involving West Face – a whistle-blower case and a defamation suit. In the whistle-blower case, Catalyst and its majority-owned unit Callidus Capital Inc. allege they were targeted by hedge funds and former clients in a short-selling scheme in which complaints about the companies were made to regulators through whistle-blower programs.
The West Face consortium bought Wind for $300-million and, 18 months later, sold it to Shaw Communications Inc. for $1.6-billion.
West Face CEO Greg Boland called Catalyst’s suit a “meritless attack” on the Wind Mobile transaction.
“The Supreme Court decision was the final failure in Mr. Glassman’s attempt to reverse the consequences of his own poor judgment," Mr. Boland said.
Editor’s note: November 16, 2019: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the date a judge ruled against Catalyst. It was in August 2016.
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