No commission on superyacht sale

Posted: 22nd April 2014

SuperyachtYacht brokers who claimed a 10 per cent commission on the Euros 19.8 million sale of a superyacht between wealthy Russian businessman will not receive a penny after the High Court ruled that they had not brought about the transaction.

The brokers claimed that they had been orally instructed to market the 47-metre yacht by businessman A and that, pursuant to that agreement, they had shown businessman B around the vessel. The latter bought the vessel 19 months later and the brokers claimed that they had been instrumental in achieving the sale.

Businessman A argued that he had given no firm instructions to the brokers, that he had agreed the sale privately with businessman B and that the brokers’ input had contributed nothing to the transaction. His account of events was supported by businessmen B and the Court described both of them as credible witnesses.

In dismissing the brokers’ claim, the Court found that, at the time he was shown around the vessel, businessman B had made it clear that he was ‘not interested’ in purchasing it as he already owned a luxury yacht. He did not at that time have funds readily available to fund such a purchase and his viewing of the vessel had been short, perfunctory and, from his point of view, not serious.

Noting that wealthy Russians were routinely ‘bombarded’ with sale particulars of superyachts, the Court found that the private agreement reached between the businessmen was ‘a new transaction’. In those circumstances, nothing that the brokers had done was ‘an effective cause’ of the transaction.