The concept of special contribution and its effect on value


We previously discussed the growth in business value and the approaches to historical valuation of a business in WM v HM [2017] EWFC25.

In the recent XW V XH [2017] EWFC 76, XW and XH were married in Italy. During the marriage, the company of which XH was chief executive officer became hugely successful. The value of the company increased dramatically and XH sold the company and realized about £540 million.

The Court concluded that the Wife is entitled to a lump sum of £115 million which equals to 25% of the value of the growth in the Husband’s shareholding in a company during the marriage. The basis of the conclusion was as follows:-

“The parties have to a very substantial extent kept their financial affairs completely separate during the marriage”

“The assets which grew so substantially in value during the latter years of the marriage were the husband’s business assets”

“The ultimate phenomenal success of the company was due in part to developments and decisions taken in the business during the marriage, but it was also attributable to developments and decisions taken before the marriage – the creation of the company, the putting together of the team, the earlier activities of the company in its field, including the original product models, and the development of a marketing strategy. To a not inconsiderable extent, the later success was built on those earlier foundations”

“The husband’s contribution to the growth in the value of the business assets during the marriage comes within the concept of special contribution”

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Martin Tupila

Managing Director