Mark Birley and James Sherwood have fallen out over Harry's Bar, the exclusive members' club they founded in London's Mayfair. American Sherwood funded the club's opening in 1979 by stumping up £330,000 through Orient Express Hotels, which owns Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons restaurant near Oxford. That gave him a 40% stake and he remained a silent partner while genial socialite Birley, with a 51% stake, ran the club which made a £1m profit last year. But two years ago Birley became ill and handed over the running of Harry's and his other clubs to son Robin and daughter India Jane. Now he wants to hand them his shares as well, but Sherwood is refusing to agree. He cites a change of control clause in their partnership, allowing each a pre-emption right to buy out the other's shares. Sherwood, it seems, initially offered to allow Birley to hand over 49% to his children, which would make Orient Express the controlling shareholder. But Birley would not agree, and many members back him. Several have reportedly even threatened to resign. The Daily Telegraph (Business) 16/10/05 page 7

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