The Clash’s manager has lost her bid to sell her share of the band’s royalties in court.
Tricia Ronane, who managed the band for over two decades until 2011, was married to bassist Paul Simonon for 18 years before they divorced in 2008.
When they split, the couple agreed to share royalties from the band equally and set up the Cut-Throat Productions Ltd company, with each owning 50 percent of it.
A judge at London’s High Court has blocked Ronane from selling her half of the company after Simonon objected to the sale. She had wanted to sell her share to an investment fund for £5 million.
Her barrister, Jennifer Meech, told the court that by refusing the sale, she would be “forever stuck” with the bassist, who refused to communicate with her. “Mr Simonon isn’t speaking to her, isn’t responding to her,” she said. Meech also described dealing with the money as a “constant battle” for her client.
Simonon’s lawyer, James Mather, argued that selling half of the company to a third party could pose “great difficulties” to the musician in the future, saying he would have a business partner “forced upon him”.
He said that the pair “don’t get along at the moment” and that Simonon was “very concerned” about who Ronane might sell her part of the company to. “We are dealing with £5 million worth of shares and a relationship of critical importance to Mr Simonon,” Mather said. “What is at issue is having this new business partner forced upon him.”
He added that a clause in the divorce settlement that said, “It is not open to each of the shareholders to sell their shares”, was clear. Meech argued that there was nothing in the settlement that stopped her client from selling.
Judge Cawson ruled that Ronane could not sell her half of the company, saying a transfer of shares by either party “would be inconsistent and incompatible” with the terms of the divorce settlement that was agreed in 2010.
“We are concerned with shares worth a considerable amount of money and an income stream no doubt of considerable value,” he said. He ordered Ronane to pay Simonon £30,000 towards his legal bills for the hearing.
Last year, Simonon released a new album with The Good, The Bad & The Queen, his supergroup with Damon Albarn, The Verve’s Simon Tong, and Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen. In a three-star review, NME said of ‘Merrie Land’: “The British identity is once again pulled into focus by the group. It’s not the first album that’ll reference Brexit, […] but few will silently despair quite like the muddled ‘Merrie Land’ does. There are references to leaders who are “disconnected and raised up in mansions”, but if you’ve come for on-the-nose commentary, you’ll likely not find it here.”