Sir Martin Sorrell, the advertising tycoon, settled his libel and privacy actions for £120,000 today.
The 62-year-old chief executive of WPP said his costs would total £1 million of which the defendants his former colleagues Marco Benatti and Marco Tinelli had agreed to contribute £50,000.
Sir Martin had claimed the pair were behind a blog which labelled him a “mad dwarf” which he said was libellous. But today agreed to settle without the defendants admitting liability.
His opponents, who were willing to give evidence in their defence, said: “One can only conclude he recognises his case was fatally flawed.”
They had offered to settle for the same amount more than a month ago and today said: “This whole trial has been an unncessary waste of court time and resources.” They claimed Sir Martin’s costs were close to £2 million and their own were £1 million.
This afternoon a spokesman for Sir Martin said WPP would consider paying some of his legal costs at a board meeting at which he would absent himself. This could prove a controversial move for WPP shareholders.
Sir Martin had accused the Milan-based media company FullSix, Mr Benatti, its founder, and Mr Tinelli, its chief executive, of waging a crude internet campaign against him in March last year.
He claimed that they were behind a blog alleging criminal fraud, deception and money laundering, e-mails containing a “vicious” jpeg image of himself and the senior executive Daniela Weber, and that they had labelled the claimants “the mad dwarf and the nympho schizo”.