A bitter dispute between breakdown giant AA and its former boss took a turn for the worse late this evening.
AA shares leapt over 15 per cent on claims by ex-chairman Bob Mackenzie the firm had been approached had received an approach from a private equity fund in early 2017.
The revelation was made within court documents prepared on behalf of Mackenzie, who went to say the approach was dismissed as it undervalued the company.
Mackenzie was sensationally sacked last summer on "gross misconduct" grounds amid reports of an altercation at an upmarket Surrey hotel. He has launched a legal challenge against his dismissal.
It is understood the AA’s legal team is pursuing Mackenzie to repay £1.2m in bonuses.
An AA spokesperson said: "We received particulars of claim from Robert Mackenzie at the High Court of Justice Chancery Division at 3.58pm today.
We were astonished to receive the claim after the documentation was leaked by or on behalf of Mr Mackenzie to the press earlier in the day, in a clear breach of confidentiality.
The board and all the directors acted with utmost propriety and appropriately in respect of the matters of this claim. Mr Mackenzie was dismissed on 1 August 2017 having launched an unprovoked, sustained and violent attack on a colleague. We will vigorously contest the claim.
Mackenzie could not be reached for comment.