After a fierce two year legal battle between Reed Exhibitions and the Fédération des Industries Nautiques (FIN) over control of the Cannes Yachting Festival, the Paris High Court has ruled in favour of the French nautical industry federation. Reed Expositions France, a regional office of UK based Reed Exhibitions, has confirmed its intention to appeal.
As the owner of both the Paris and Cannes boat shows, FIN had contracted Reed to organise both events in 1998 but later terminated the contract at the end of 2016.
In the process, FIN sought to be released from a clause allowing Reed to continue operating the Cannes Yachting Festival until 2041. Reed sought to force the application of the clause in question and a legal battle has ensued ever since.
Following the decision announced on 8 January 2019, the court ruled the clause null and void, officially terminating the contract as of 20 December 2016. According to a statement published by FIN, the Court has also forbidden Reed from presenting itself to any parties as the organizer of the Cannes Yachting Festival.
"This is a great victory for the French nautical industry today, we always trusted justice to restore the truth." said Yves Lyon-Caen, chairman of FIN which represents over 5,000 nautical companies operating in France.
"In a few days I will be meeting with FIN's Board to assess the consequences of this judgment, because the stakes are important for the immediate future of our companies."
As quoted in IBI News, Michel Vilair, managing director of Reed Expositions France, responded saying, “This is absolutely not the end of the story. Nothing in the judgement rendered by the High Court of Paris is enforceable. On the basis of our analysis we will appeal as we have good legal reasons to do so.”
The appeal process is likely to take between 12 -18 months and, despite the ruling, Mr Vilair says "until another judgement is rendered, we will continue to manage the Cannes show in 2019.”
Reed will be issueing a statement to exhibitors of the Cannes Yachting Festival later today.