SPICE GIRLS – ‘GOODBYE’ TO #1MILLION

Baby, Sporty, Scary and Posh set to pay out more than #1million after High Court finds in favour of scooter firm...

THE SPICE GIRLS have lost an estimated #1 million High Court battle with an Italian scooter firm.

The firm, Aprilia SpA, claimed that the departure of ‘Ginger Spice’ Geri Halliwell from the group scuppered a sponsorship deal with the firm which involved the manufacture of a specially-themed ‘Spice Sonic’ scooter. An extensive ad campaign had featured all five Spice Girls.

Today at London’s High Court, Mrs Justice Arden said the Spice Girls had not considered the effect a change of line-up would have on Aprilia. And she said she was satisfied that they had known in April 1998, before the sponsorship deal was tied up in May 1998, that Geri intended to leave.

But she said that the fact the girls took part in a vital photo shoot tied in with the sponorship deal implied they had no grounds for believing that Geri was intending to leave and could be taken as inducement for Aprilia to enter the deal. The firm had signed the contract in order to pave the way for the photo shoot.

During the case, heard earlier this month, Geri Halliwell and ‘Baby Spice’ Emma Bunton both gave evidence, with Geri claiming leaving the Spice Girls was “like leaving a marriage”.

She said that while half of her wanted to go, the other half wanted to stay but that she had known instinctively that she wanted to leave. The exact level of damages, interest and legal costs will be now be worked out along with the question of an appeal.

During their rise to fame the Spice Girls lent their image to a bewildering range of different products including crisps, lollipops, fizzy drinks, chocolates, cameras and handkerchiefs.

The group are expected to release their third album later this year.