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john hargreaves yacht

Matalan billionaire who ran the UK retail empire while 'living' on a yacht in Monaco fights £84m tax bill

By City & Finance Reporter for the Daily Mail

Updated: 16:54 EDT, 24 November 2016

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John Hargreaves at a Matalan ball with singer Kylie Minogue

John Hargreaves at a Matalan ball with singer Kylie Minogue

He's the other billionaire tax-exile who ran a retail empire in the UK while living on a yacht in Monaco.

Now tycoon John Hargreaves, who founded the Matalan fashion chain, is embroiled in his own run-in with the authorities. 

Hargreaves  is accused of dodging £84million in tax by claiming that he lived in Monaco.

But HM Revenue & Customs believes he spent so much of his time in the UK that money he made from Matalan should be taxed here. Yesterday, Hargreaves, 72, took his fight to a tax tribunal for an initial hearing.

The row dates from May 2001 when Hargreaves and his partner sold shares in Matalan that netted £200million. 

Hargreaves claims his main residence at the time was a luxury hotel suite in Monaco, but Revenue and Customs say he was 'ordinarily resident' in Britain when the deal went through.


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He kept the family home, in Barton, near Preston, and flew back to Britain more than 40 times in the 2000-01 tax year. 

He was then still Matalan's executive chairman and most of his trips were to the HQ in Preston.

But Hargreaves says that when he left the UK, it was his 'settled purpose to live abroad permanently'.

He claims that after a spell in the hotel suite, he and his partner lived on a yacht in the harbour before moving into a rented apartment.

The son of a docks labourer, he went into the retailing business at the age of 16. He resigned as chairman of Matalan in 2007.


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Inside the luxurious world of Monaco - home to Everton's Farhad Moshiri

The ECHO visited the playground of the super rich

  • 13:27, 17 MAR 2018

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Private jets, land so expensive they’re making more, and the world’s most famous casino – if you live in Monte Carlo like Everton FC’s Farhad Moshiri, you could live a true life of luxury.

While the ECHO was in Cannes for the Mipim property festival this week, we thought we’d pop along the Riviera to explore one of the world’s smallest countries.

The Principality of Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world, but the most densely-populated.

That’s because it’s known a a playground for the super-rich, home to many thousands of millionaires.

They have included Beatle Ringo Starr, Matalan founder John Hargreaves – and now Mr Moshiri .

So we thought we’d wander round the Monte Carlo area at the heart of the country to see what we could learn about the millionaire lifestyle.

One of the quirks of Monaco is that while its setting is spectacular, it’s actually in parts quite an ordinary-looking and even ugly place.

Because the Principality is so small, developers have to make the best use of every bit of land. So tower blocks have sprouted everywhere, with hundreds of balconies packed with greenery taking advantage of that Mediterranean sun.

There are blocks as ugly as any built in England in the 1960s, though unlike their English equivalents they’ve been very well looked after.

And there are also some rather more impressive 60s models, in modernist styles that have now come back into fashion.

john hargreaves yacht

One modern glass-clad skyscraper, glinting in the sun at the far end of Monte Carlo, was visible almost everywhere the ECHO walked.

There’s so little land in Monaco that they’re actually making more. The country is spending some £1.5bn on reclaiming another six hectares of land from the sea below the Monte Carlo casino - the hammering sound of the piling drills echoed through Monte Carlo while the ECHO was there. That land will soon be taken up by more homes for the super-rich.

john hargreaves yacht

Monaco is most famous for its Grand Prix. And while normal traffic might not whizz round its winding roads quite as quickly as Formula One cars, it’s still pretty intense and busy, making crossing the roads a bit of a challenge.

But there are some stunning highlights in Monte Carlo too that make the place well worth a visit.

john hargreaves yacht

In Monte Carlo sits perhaps the Principality’s most famous landmark, the Casino – a must-visit destination for visitors, whether gamblers or not.

The stunning Beaux-Arts style building, with its domes, statues and palm trees outside, is Monaco’s most famous building. Its a large complex that also houses the Grand Theatre de Monte Carlo.

john hargreaves yacht

The cars outside were pretty impressive too, including Rolls Royces and Ferraris.

Inside the halls are dripping with gilt and gold – a lavish environment for the wealthy.

Opposite the temple of gambling is a temporary set of temples to the power of big spending.

Les Pavillions Monte-Carlo consists of five large pebble-shaped buildings, with a sinuous path between them, each containing several luxury stores.

There are two Chanel outlets – one for clothes, one for shoes, as well as stores for brands including Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen.

john hargreaves yacht

There are expensive bags, lavish pieces of jewellery, and stunning dresses. There are no prices in the windows, of course – if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

In other places there are prices in the window.

In Monte Carlo we spotted one private jet and helicopter specialist selling a Cessna Citation Mustang business jet for a mere 2.2m euros.

Estate agents’ prices are unsurprisingly high. In on window a two-room seven-floor flat was on sale for 3.3m euros, with another apartment close to the casino with stunning sea views on offer for 5m euros.

And by the waterfront, shops sell boats for hundreds of thousands of euros.

john hargreaves yacht

There are plenty of other famous faces reported to be living in Monaco, including Bono and Shirley Bassey.

One sportsman who has really embraced Monaco is Novak Djokovic. He’s opened a vegan restaurant – a relative rarity on the Riviera – in the centre of Monte Carlo.

Eqvita was closed for renovations when the ECHO walked past.

If you fancied something less virtuous to eat, you could head next door to McCarthy’s pub and restaurant, where you can get finger food like French Fries – 9 euros a portion.

john hargreaves yacht

There’s also fish and chips with mushy peas – 23 euros - and at weekends you can get a Full English Breakfast for 16 euros.

We focused on Monte Carlo on this visit but there’s more to Monaco, including the Old Town with its Princes’ Palace that was once home to Grace Kelly, and the Stade Louis II – itself built on reclaimed land.

It may be a pleasant place to live – but not a cheap one.

  • Farhad Moshiri
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  • You are here: The Drapers Interview

The Drapers Interview: The man behind Matalan

In the year Matalan turns 30, founder John Hargreaves has this week received the Drapers Lifetime Achievement Award. In his first ever interview, the self-confessed workaholic, who built up his fashion empire from scratch, explains how he’s always been a value man.

By Tara Hounslea 26 November 2015

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John Hargreaves

The man behind Matalan

John Hargreaves: ”I always loved trading since being a kid. I loved buying something and selling it, whatever it was.”

“I don’t know anything about business; I’ve just learnt as I’ve gone along. But I’ve always had good people around me and I think that is critical,” says Matalan’s publicity-shy founder John Hargreaves.

Born in 1944 as the middle child of eight, who all shared one bedroom in a terraced house in inner-city Liverpool, Hargreaves “never dreamt for one second” that he’d be where he is today. His Matalan business has developed into a portfolio of more than 220 UK stores and 21 overseas franchise stores, employing more than 16,000 staff.

This year’s Sunday Times Rich List estimates he is worth around £1bn and places him at number 108, but the Monaco resident readily admits: “I’ve always been a value guy.”

“I used to go up and down [Liverpool’s Great Homer Street] market and compare what people were selling; I’d always undercut them because I’d rather sell a lot at a little than a few with a big margin,” he explains in a soft Scouse accent while sat in a grand showroom at 31 Old Burlington Street in Mayfair, home to men’s heritage brand Wolsey, which is run by his son Jamey.

However, while one former executive describes him as “a great retailer with great retail instinct” and refers to his yacht and plane, he adds “He is not a flash man. He’s very down to earth”, which is how he appears.


Having left school at the age of 14 with hopes of joining the Merchant Navy, jealous of friends returning from the distant shores of New York with exotic boxer shorts, belts and records, he stumbled into the fashion industry by chance. Needing to find a job, he gained his first position at a clothing wholesaler called Stoops & Co in Islington, Liverpool, as “the boy” unpacking parcels on the day he turned 15.

“I loved clothes, but I knew nothing about them,” he remembers. “I was very much into fashion at that stage. We were Mods, Teds, everything.”

He showed promise with a knack for recalling the product prices as he unpacked, as well as where he’d put them and where they came from. At 16, he was sent out selling to shops, giving him a taste for life as a trader.

He married young, at 19, and was making good money from commission. However, aspiring to more, he saved £45 to buy a reel of fabric that he made into A-line dresses, which he sold at Great Homer Street Market. Netting £13 in one Saturday afternoon, more than his week’s salary of £11, spurred him on to save a further £50 to buy an old van. He gave up his job for the markets in 1964, aged 20.

“I always loved trading since being a kid; I loved buying something and selling it, whatever it was,” he says, explaining that he became a regular on markets around Liverpool before expanding as far as Pwllheli in northwest Wales, employing his younger brother Frank and older brother Billy.

I always loved trading since being a kid; I loved buying something and selling it, whatever it was

After too many cold early morning starts, Hargreaves decided there was an easier way to make money. He opened his first Jaymax store in 1976 , named after his sons Jason and Jamey and daughter Maxine, and selling seconds from high street chains like Marks & Spencer.

As others cottoned on to buying high street seconds, and to ensure a constant supply of stock, Hargreaves decided to start sourcing new product directly from the Far East a couple of years later for his growing network of stores, as well as supplying other market traders and small shops.

“I thought: ’If the importers can do it, I can do it’,” he says, recalling buying trips to Hong Kong where he visited huge buildings in Kowloon that sold chickens on one floor and knitwear on another.

“I’ve heard all kinds of stories about people getting containers of sawdust, but we never had anything like that. We must have been very lucky,” he acknowledges.

By the mid-1980s, he had grown the Jaymax chain to a portfolio of 35 stores with a turnover of £10m, alongside a significant wholesale business supplying market traders and small stores.

However, it was while visiting friends in Los Angeles that he got the idea that would transform his life for good. Visiting Price Club with his hairdresser friend to buy goods for his salon, Hargreaves immediately spotted the potential for the members-only discount warehouse format in the UK, a precursor to big-name discount clubs such as Costco and Sam’s Club.

On his return, he created a separate space in his Preston warehouse to offer product at 20% more than his wholesale prices but 25% cheaper than his store prices through a members-club format to avoid the need for retail planning permission. He bought a ready-made shelf company and in May 1985 Matalan Discount Club (Cash and Carry) was born.

“There’s no meaning to the name Matalan whatsoever,” he says, quipping that if he had a pound for everyone who’d asked him what it stood for, he’d be a very rich man indeed. “I’ve been told that it’s my two sons Matt and Alan, but it’s definitely not.”

The Preston warehouse was located just off the M6 motorway near Bamber Bridge to service the Jaymax stores, which Hargreaves began closing down to transition into Matalan. Due to its out-of-town location, though, it got no passing trade.

“I had a bright idea that I’d approach the HR manager at [nearby automotive manufacturer] British Leyland to ask if I could bring some stuff into the canteen at lunchtime and show them the prices. If they liked it, they could become a member of Matalan discount club and buy product at discount prices,” he says.

He then approached another local company, British Telecom, to do the same. Within weeks, he says, “we had something like 8,000 to 10,000 members”, heralding the start of the pioneering Matalan database that today boasts almost 12 million members and covers almost 70% of UK households.

Matalan grew rapidly and by 1995 it had 55 stores. Hargreaves was then approached by retail conglomerate Kingfisher to buy the business. A deal was almost done but fell through at the final hurdle, which Hargreaves now views as a lucky escape as “we would have sold for £220m”.

He appointed former Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams and Kingfisher executive Angus Monro as chief executive in 1996 and became chairman of the board. In 1997 the company moved its headquarters to Skelmersdale, Lancashire, and a year later he set his sights on a stock market flotation.

“I was a very ambitious kid. I always felt that if you’re having one, you may as well have two – and if you’re having two, why don’t you have four?” he recalls. “Numbers didn’t mean nothing to me. I was always looking for how to evolve it to the next stage.”

At this point, Hargreaves was working seven days a week, visiting stores or looking for new locations at weekends and making four annual three-week sourcing trips to “wherever the prices were right”, taking in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Hong Kong and China.

I’m probably a workaholic really, and it does take you a bit of time to ease off

His first “pinch-me” moment was listing 23.5 million shares on the London Stock Exchange in May 1998.

However, he was quickly back to the day job. By 2000 he decided to re-evaluate his life, selling a portion of his 69% stake in the business and moving to Monaco, where he still lives.

“I was a very wealthy man on paper, but I actually didn’t have any great wealth because I was pumping everything back in [to Matalan], so I decided to sell some shares and move,” he says.

“I’m probably a workaholic really, and it does take you a bit of time to ease off. When I first went to Monaco, I didn’t know what to do with myself and I was driving people mad. I was never off the phone.”

He pulled back from the business and became chairman, cutting his role down to a couple of days a week. However, over the next four or five years he started to feel he didn’t like the way the business was going so made an approach to buy it back.

“I felt they were losing the advantage of what we were: the leader in the value sector. They were all about margins and pushing prices up, so in 2005 I approached the board of directors and said I’d be interested in buying the business back because the share price was dropping.”

He successfully took the company private again a year later, in an £827m deal backed by £410m of debt, installed a management team and backed off again.

All three of his children were schooled in the business, but only Jason remained at this stage, having worked at Matalan in various roles since he was 16.

Today, Jason is the only child to have remained in the value sector, like his father, as managing director of Matalan. His other son, Jamey, runs Wolsey, Morley and denim label Blk Dnm and ownes 50% of Julien Macdonald, while his daughter, Maxine, runs and owns Nicole Farhi and Fenn Wright Manson, and has an investment in mid-market womenswear brand Damsel in a Dress.

Hargreaves admits that he is a hard taskmaster, particularly with his children: “You say things to your children that you couldn’t say to your employees because you expect a lot more of them; I think a lot of fathers are like that.”

Retail analyst Nick Bubb met Hargreaves on occasion when the company was public during analyst briefings, describing him as “appearing quite shy but a straightforward bloke”, who was keen to promote his kids.

Jason was appointed to the role of managing director at Matalan in 2013, after chief executive Darren Blackhurst stepped down.

Hargreaves describes Matalan’s recent venture onto the high street, which culminated in the opening of a store on London’s Oxford Street in June, as a “work in progress, with a lot to do on the model”, but says he’s happy with progress so far. The retailer is also building its own web platform and by next year he says it will be an “all-singing, all-dancing platform, which will be the best in kind”.

“On an international level, it will allow us to test countries like France, Spain, Germany and Italy to see where the most promising response comes from, and then from that we’ll assess if it is worth a bricks-and-mortar there,” he says.

In July, Matalan also launched an online company called Matalan Direct, offering big-ticket items such as bedroom, bathroom and living room furniture and appliances. Next year, there are plans to launch around five bricks-and-mortar stores offering the new fuller range, all decked out with Matalan products.

Matalan’s sales fell by 2.5% to £1.1bn in the year ending February 28, while EBITDA rose 5.1% to £100.3m as the business encountered problems caused by moving to a new distribution centre, which has since improved.

Hargreaves has stepped back from the business almost entirely, but he is always happy to give an opinion when it is asked for.

“It would be fair to say I do have my opinions,” he laughs. “I’m very much into value – that’s what our customers want. Delivering value and customer satisfaction is high on my agenda. I keep saying that if you get the right product for your customer, they will buy it.”

The drive that always pushed him to go one step further doesn’t seem to have waned much in his later years. Now he spends his mornings keeping fit and playing golf (badly, he says), but in the afternoons he’s back at his desk in his office in Monaco.

He describes himself as a “big investor across a number of sectors”, as well as being active in various charity projects, namely the NSPCC and Alder Hey children’s hospital in his hometown of Liverpool.

The family is notoriously low profile – he won’t be pushed to talk about his wife, who he says has always been in the background – but he does disclose that, as a family and as Matalan, they are the single biggest donor to the NSPCC in the country. Matalan’s Alphabet Scarves campaign for Christmas 2014 raised £650,000 for Alder Hey and the new Beanie Vs Bobble collection of hats for autumn 15 aims to raise even more.

Hargreaves is clearly a private man but charming if you get the chance to meet him. And he has no regrets. “I’ve always been one of those who thinks you can’t alter the past – I’m all about the future,” he says, before being led to his first press photoshoot in 71 years, which is naturally hasty at his request.

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The 62.3m/204'5" motor yacht 'Lady Maja I' (ex. Lady Christina) was built by Oceanco in the Netherlands at their Alblasserdam shipyard. Her interior is styled by French designer design house Zuretti and she was completed in 2005. This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of Oceanco and she was last refitted in 2014.

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Built | Refit 2005 | 2014
Beam 10.5m / 34'5
Gross Tonnage 1,166 GT
Draft 4.05m / 13'3
Cruising Speed 13 Knots
Top Speed 15 Knots


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Matalan tax case

Matalan’s billionaire boss John Hargreaves battles £84m tax bill by claiming Residency in Monaco

John Hargreaves, who founded the Matalan fashion chain, is battling an £84m tax bill by claiming that he lived in Monaco at the time of the bill.

In May, 2001, Hargreaves and his partner sold shares in Matalan that netted £200 million.

HM Revenue and Customs says he was a “resident” in Britain when the deal happened – and yesterday, the matter went to the Tax Tribunal.

Hargreaves, 72, claimed that his main residence at the time was a luxury hotel suite in Monaco, although he flew back to Britain more than 40 times in the 2000-01 tax year.

Matlan tax case

Hargreaves claims that when he left the UK, it was his “settled purpose to live abroad permanently’’. After living in a hotel suite in Monaco, he re-located to a yacht in the harbour before moving into a rented apartment.

HMRC first demanded £84 million in capital gains and income tax back in 2007, but Mr Hargreaves has been battling the demand ever since.

John Hargreaves was born in Everton. The middle of eight children all sharing one bedroom in a Liverpool terrace house, Hargreaves left school at 14, worked at a Greatie market stall when he was 16, and opened the first Matalan store in 1985.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Hargreaves is now the country’s 84th wealthiest person with an estimated fortune of £1 billion.

When he is needed at the company’s head offices, he travels by private jet from the Monaco home he currently shares with his wife.

In 2007, Mr Hargreaves resigned as chairman of Matalan and his son became Matalan chief executive in 2013.

Mr Hargreaves is adamant about his move to Monaco in March, 2000.

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2. John Hargreaves and family: £780m (£640)

IT has been a busy year for the Hargreaves family. Not only has there been a resurgence in the performance of the Matalan clothing business, in which they have a 52 per cent share, but Jamey Hargreaves, millionaire son of patriarch John, managed to snare socialite Tara Palmer-Tompkinson.

  • 02:49, 1 JUL 2005
  • Updated 17:02, 12 JAN 2013

Number two: Matalan maestro John Hargreaves

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IT has been a busy year for the Hargreaves family.

Not only has there been a resurgence in the performance of the Matalan clothing business, in which they have a 52 per cent share, but Jamey Hargreaves, millionaire son of patriarch John, managed to snare socialite Tara Palmer-Tompkinson.

Matalan's success this year has come as a surprise to many.

Last year, the value of the company's stock fell by more than é200m as the firm issued a profit warning amid increased competition from supermarkets such as Tesco, which was moving into the budget clothing sector.

But in the last year the family have seen their coffers swell as shares in Matalan have made an unexpected recovery to value the business at é982.8m, leaving the family's fortune from Matalan at é511.1m.

A former market trader, Mr Hargreaves founded Matalan in 1985 after being impressed by out-of-town discount stores while on a holiday to the United States.

He opened his first store in Preston and now trades from more than 185, employing 15,700 staff. Mr Hargreaves, 61, lives in Monaco with his wife, Anne, but makes weekly trips by jet to Matalan's Skelmersdale headquarters.

Sons Jamey and Jason work in the family business and are millionaires in their own right, owning significant stakes. Jamey has a consultancy role within its menswear business and Jason has a full-time role as the firm's sourcing director.

Other assets of around é270m - including at least é6m a year in pay and dividends - take their total family wealth to é780m.

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Former market stall seller who founded Matalan set for £250m windfall 

By Rupert Steiner for the Daily Mail Updated: 05:03 EDT, 2 April 2010

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John Hargreaves

Windfall: Matalan founder John Hargreaves has struck a deal with investors for the chain of stores

He is a former barrow boy who has turned rags into riches and is now set for a £250m windfall.

John Hargreaves, boss of discount fashion chain Matalan, will take home the eye-watering dividend after striking a deal with investors to raise £525m.

The 66-year-old who left school at 14 is credited with starting the low cost retailing revolution which saw Primark and New Look follow in his footsteps.

He opened his first Matalan in Preston in 1985 and the remaining half of the money will be pumped back into the business and will go towards re-financing existing loans and expansion.

Hargreaves’ bumper dividend is one of the biggest for a retailer and will be shared with his children, Jamie, Jason and Maxine who are all involved with the firm.

The Monaco-based tax exile, who owns a 200-ft super-yacht called My Lady Christina, and a Dassault Falcon jet, declined to give details of how he plans to spend his fortune.

Hargreaves already has a holiday home in Barbados where the family spend every Christmas.

But the life of luxury he enjoys today is a far cry from his humble beginnings.

Born in Everton close to the docks where his father worked as a labourer he left school at 14 and worked on a traditional market stall selling seconds from Marks & Spencer at a huge discount.

This is where his taste for piling them high and selling them cheap.

By the age of 20 he had started a chain of fashion stores called Jaymax after his two eldest children.

But it wasn’t until the 1980s on a trip to America that he stumbled across the idea that would eventually make him a multi-millionaire.


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Discount clubs were springing up in out of town warehouse sites in San Diego.

Customers paid a dollar to join to register their details and were sold discounted shirts and trousers. It was the start of retailers collecting data about their customers which meant shopkeepers were able to target their marketing to their customers.

A Matalan store

Retailing revolution: Mr Hargreaves opened the first Matalan in 1985, paving the way for other discount stores like Primark

The business, now run by chief executive Alistair McGeorge, has ridden out the downturn with its cut price clothes, homewares and eye-catching advertising campaigns which have included TV presenter Melanie Sykes.

It has announced plans for a major expansion programme which could see as many as 100 new stores opening in the next few years to add to the 205 already in place.

Hargreaves had been trying to sell the business for £1.5bn and settled for the financing after failing to find a private equity firms prepared to stump up the amount.

Melanie Sykes

Star attraction: An advertising campaign with Melanie Sykes helped Matalan survive the economic downturn

McGeorge said: ‘Following three years of improved trading and results, which has been accompanied by a rapid pay down of debt, we are pleased to have completed a re-financing which will underpin our growth for many years to come as we execute our growth strategy as an independent company.’

Just ten years ago Hargreaves took £232m out of the business after floating it on the stock market.

The business has had a bumpy ride over the past decade having successfully listed on the stock market and soared in value it failed to see the threat of competition from the likes of Tesco and Primark and went through a rough patch. But in recent years chief executive Alistair McGeorge has been busy getting it back on a stable footing.

Hargreaves was approached in November by bankers who said they had two interested parties who wanted to buy the business.

The retail boss was not looking to sell but was interested to see how much they were willing to pay.

After holding discussions over a number of months he called the sale off after failing to agree on price.

In a statement Matalan said: ‘The proceeds of the capital raise will be used to refinance the company’s existing debt facilities and to finance a distribution to shareholders.’

Share or comment on this article: Matalan founder set for £250m windfall after striking deal with investors

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john hargreaves yacht

Hargrave Yachts History

Hargrave Yachts History

Jack Hargrave started his career designing sportfishing boats for Rybovitch before leaving to open his own design shop in 1958. The direction of yachting was forever changed on the day that Willis Slade asked Hargrave to design the world’s first large fiberglass sportfishing yacht. When the resulting yacht, was launched to acclaim in 1960, it marked the beginning of Hatteras Yachts and the birth of a new industry.

Jack Hargrave had a talent for combining timeless exterior profiles with practical, functional interior arrangements, producing vessels that came to define the American style of yachts. Over the next 40+ years, he designed more than 75 powerboats for Hatteras , going on to design over 250 yachts for some of America’s premiere yacht companies, including Burger, Amels, Prairie, Atlantic, Striker, and Halmatic. His influence and skill as the foremost American naval architect and yacht designer led to his induction into the NMMA Hall of Fame in 1996, and kept his company on its pinnacle as America’s top naval design firm.

In 1997, shortly after the legendary designer passed away, a former employee named Michael Joyce returned to the firm to take over as president and CEO. Joyce was determined not to let the iconic company fade away, convinced that Hargrave, far more than just a design firm, was in fact a brand name. Joyce realized that Hargrave could no longer rely on builders for steady business, as the most successful yacht builders had formed their own in-house design and engineering departments. He conceived a plan to expand the company into a constructor of custom luxury yachts, and Hargrave Custom Yachts was born.

Hargrave Yachts produces a full line of custom-built yachts, designed entirely to the specifications of each owner. They offer a unique cost effective program that blends a custom design with a semi-production build process, giving the savings back to the client. Their attention to detail and unwaveringly high standards are paying off; more than half of their owners  have built more than one yacht with them and some are now on their fourth order!

Enjoy the craftsmanship and outright luxury of Hargrave with a beautiful pre-owned Hargrave yacht of your own. While Atlantic Yacht and Ship just sold two Hargrave yachts, ‘King Baby’ and ‘To Life’, we have several other pre-owned Hargrave yachts for you to choose from, including:


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25 Astounding Facts About John Hargreaves

Seline Kinsella

Written by Seline Kinsella

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


John Hargreaves is a name that needs no introduction in the world of celebrity. Known for his remarkable career spanning over two decades, Hargreaves has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. From his early beginnings in theater to his breakthrough roles in blockbuster films, Hargreaves has captivated audiences with his immense talent and versatility.

In this article, we will delve into the life and achievements of this extraordinary actor, shedding light on some astounding facts that you may not know about John Hargreaves. From his humble origins to his rise to stardom, we will uncover fascinating details about his personal and professional journey. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to dive into the captivating world of John Hargreaves!

Key Takeaways:

  • John Hargreaves, a versatile and beloved actor, made a lasting impact on the entertainment industry through his diverse roles, international recognition, and enduring legacy.
  • From his award-winning performance in “Platoon” to his advocacy for social causes, John Hargreaves’ talent, passion, and influence continue to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide.

Rising to Fame: John Hargreaves’ Breakout Role

John Hargreaves catapulted to stardom with his breakout role in the critically acclaimed film Platoon, which was released in Directed by Oliver Stone, this iconic war film took the world by storm with its raw portrayal of the Vietnam War.

Award-Winning Performance: John Hargreaves and “Platoon”

“Platoon” not only resonated with audiences, but also impressed award voters. The film went on to win four Academy Awards , including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

Drawing from Real-Life Experiences: Oliver Stone’s Influence

Oliver Stone, the director of “Platoon,” drew upon his own experiences as a Vietnam War veteran to create an authentic and impactful narrative. John Hargreaves’ performance was greatly influenced by Stone’s personal encounters and observations on the battleground.

A Versatile Actor: John Hargreaves’ Diverse Roles

Throughout his career, John Hargreaves showcased his versatility by taking on a wide range of roles. From intense dramas to lighthearted comedies, he proved his ability to masterfully portray different characters and captivate audiences in various genres.

International Recognition: John Hargreaves’ Global Appeal

John Hargreaves’ talent and on-screen charisma didn’t go unnoticed outside of his home country. His performances garnered international praise and earned him a dedicated fan base around the world.

A Life on Stage: John Hargreaves’ Theater Background

Before making a name for himself in the film industry, John Hargreaves honed his craft on the stage. He performed in numerous theatrical productions, showcasing his remarkable acting skills and passion for the performing arts.

Iconic Collaborations: John Hargreaves and Acclaimed Directors

Throughout his career, John Hargreaves had the opportunity to work with some of the most respected directors in the industry. His collaborations with visionary filmmakers further solidified his reputation as an actor of exceptional talent.

Box Office Success: John Hargreaves’ Commercial Hits

Not only did John Hargreaves receive critical acclaim for his performances, but he also achieved notable success at the box office. Several of his films became commercial hits, solidifying his status as a bankable star .

Memorable Characters: John Hargreaves’ Impactful Portrayals

Throughout his career, John Hargreaves breathed life into memorable characters that have left an indelible mark on the film industry. His performances resonated with audiences and showcased his ability to connect with viewers on an emotional level.

A Passion for Social Issues: John Hargreaves’ Advocacy

John Hargreaves didn’t limit his involvement in the entertainment industry to acting alone. He was known for his passionate advocacy for various social causes, using his platform to raise awareness and create positive change in society.

International Accolades: John Hargreaves’ Award Nominations

John Hargreaves’ talent and dedication to his craft were acknowledged by numerous award organizations. He received nominations for prestigious awards both in his home country and internationally, further solidifying his status as a respected actor.

A Sense of Humor: John Hargreaves’ Comic Timing

In addition to his dramatic roles, John Hargreaves showcased his impeccable comic timing in various comedic films. His ability to deliver hilarious performances demonstrated his versatility as an actor.

Cultural Impact: John Hargreaves’ Influence on Pop Culture

John Hargreaves’ contributions to the entertainment industry didn’t go unnoticed. His iconic roles and memorable performances have had a lasting impact on pop culture , influencing future generations of actors and filmmakers.

A Collaborative Spirit: John Hargreaves and Fellow Actors

John Hargreaves was known for his amicable and collaborative nature on set. He formed strong bonds with his co-stars and was revered for his professionalism and generosity as an actor.

An Insightful Interviewee: John Hargreaves’ Engaging Interviews

Throughout his career, John Hargreaves participated in numerous interviews, where he shared his experiences, insights, and perspectives on the film industry. His interviews were highly regarded for their honesty and depth.

A Mentor to Young Actors: John Hargreaves’ Giving Spirit

John Hargreaves was renowned for his willingness to mentor and support young actors. He believed in nurturing talent and was passionate about helping the next generation of performers succeed in the industry.

Critically Acclaimed Performances: John Hargreaves’ Standout Roles

Throughout his career, John Hargreaves delivered several critically acclaimed performances that showcased his immense talent. His ability to inhabit complex characters and bring them to life garnered praise from audiences and critics alike.

An Enduring Legacy: John Hargreaves’ Contributions to Film

John Hargreaves’ contributions to the film industry continue to be celebrated even after his passing. His impressive body of work and the mark he left on the cinematic landscape have cemented his legacy as a true icon.

Unforgettable On-Screen Chemistry: John Hargreaves’ Co-Star Pairings

John Hargreaves shared remarkable on-screen chemistry with numerous talented actors. His collaborations with fellow performers resulted in unforgettable cinematic moments that have stood the test of time.

An Activist at Heart: John Hargreaves’ Environmental Advocacy

Beyond his work in the entertainment industry, John Hargreaves was a passionate environmental advocate . He used his platform to raise awareness about important ecological issues and encourage sustainable practices.

A Long and Accomplished Career: John Hargreaves’ Filmography

John Hargreaves’ filmography boasts an extensive list of diverse and impactful projects. From classic films to hidden gems, his body of work represents a testament to his talent and commitment to his craft.

International Collaborations: John Hargreaves’ Global Reach

John Hargreaves’ talent transcended borders, leading to collaborations with filmmakers from around the world. His ability to adapt to different cultures and work seamlessly with international teams further solidified his reputation as a global actor.

Admired by Peers: John Hargreaves’ Respect in the Industry

Colleagues and industry professionals held John Hargreaves in high regard. His professionalism, dedication, and immense talent earned him the respect and admiration of his peers.

Continuing Influence: John Hargreaves’ Enduring Impact

Even though John Hargreaves is no longer with us , his impact on the entertainment industry remains. His contributions continue to inspire and influence actors and filmmakers, ensuring that his legacy lives on.

Remembering a Legend: John Hargreaves’ Lasting Legacy

John Hargreaves’ unforgettable performances and immense talent have left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. His legacy as a cinematic legend will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.

In conclusion, John Hargreaves is undeniably a fascinating celebrity with an impressive array of achievements and talents. From his early days in the entertainment industry to his later success as an actor, director, and producer, Hargreaves has left an indelible mark on Hollywood and beyond. His dedication to his craft, versatility, and incredible work ethic have made him a beloved figure among fans and colleagues alike.With a career spanning several decades, John Hargreaves has worked on a wide variety of projects , showcasing his range as an actor and his ability to tackle diverse roles. His contributions to the entertainment industry have earned him numerous accolades and cemented his status as a true Hollywood legend.Whether you know him from his iconic performances on the big screen or admire his behind-the-scenes work, there’s no denying the impact that John Hargreaves has had on the world of entertainment. His passion, talent, and charisma continue to captivate audiences and inspire aspiring actors and filmmakers around the globe.

Q: What is John Hargreaves best known for?

A: John Hargreaves is best known for his notable performances in Australian films such as “The Odd Angry Shot” and “Don’s Party .

Q: Has John Hargreaves won any awards?

A: Yes , John Hargreaves received several awards throughout his career, including a Best Actor award from the Australian Film Institute for his role in “The Odd Angry Shot.

Q: Did John Hargreaves have a successful career as a director?

A: While John Hargreaves primarily focused on his acting career, he also directed and produced a number of projects, showcasing his talents behind the camera as well.

Q: What other notable actors did John Hargreaves work with?

A: John Hargreaves had the opportunity to collaborate with many respected actors, including Mel Gibson, Sam Neill , and Bryan Brown.

Q: Is John Hargreaves still active in the entertainment industry?

A: Sadly, John Hargreaves passed away in 1996. However, his contributions to the industry continue to be celebrated and remembered to this day .

John Hargreaves' incredible career spans decades, leaving an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. His passion for the craft, versatility, and dedication to social causes make him a true inspiration. Hargreaves' journey is a testament to the power of drama and its ability to captivate audiences. From his early days on television to his groundbreaking roles in Australian cinema , Hargreaves consistently delivered unforgettable performances that continue to resonate with viewers today. Explore more fascinating facts about the entertainment industry and discover the stories behind the scenes that have shaped our cultural landscape.

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Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.

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Millionaire Monaco-based Matalan founder sues PwC over tax liability

John Hargreaves, founder of UK discount retailer Matalan, is suing PwC over claims the firm’s advice left him liable for as much as £135 million in tax. Hargreaves alleges that he placed “complete trust” in the advice the firm gave him when he moved to Monaco 20 years ago.

Matalan is a British budget fashion and homeware retailer based in Knowsley, Merseyside. Having been established in 1985 by John Hargreaves, the brand now has 200 stores in the UK, and employs over 16,000 people.

The Hargreaves family floated the company on the London Stock Exchange between 1998 and 2006, during which time John Hargreaves and his wife moved to Monaco. This alleged non-residence led Hargreaves to claim he was not liable to capital gains tax on a gain of £200 million arising on the disposal of Matalan shares during its time as a public company.

Millionaire Monaco-based Matalan founder sues PwC over tax liability

Hargreaves’ claim was resisted by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, and following years of litigation, he has been billed for £135 million, including interest to date. As a result, Hargreaves – whose net worth according to the 2019 Sunday Times Rich List is estimated at £600 million – has opted to sue accounting and consulting giant PwC  for damages.

The case, which was originally filed in 2012, centres upon Hargreaves citing his being liable for taxation as a ‘loss’, which PwC failed to advise him against. When selling part of his shareholding in Matalan in 2000 – the net proceeds of which amounted to £237 million – he intended to do so as a non-resident, something his legal team insists PwC actively encouraged him to do so.

However, while Hargreaves decided to permanently move to Monaco and to become a non-resident in relation to his taxable status in the UK with effect from April 2000 onwards, several years later his status was thrown into question. HM Revenue & Customs decided the steps he had taken were not sufficient, and that he was still a taxable UK resident.

As Hargreaves’s lawyers submitted a new court filing in May 2020, he again suggested that PwC did not fulfil their duties to ensure UK revenue officials would accept his bid to take non-resident status and avoid most taxes in the country. The London lawsuit added that Hargreaves had “placed his complete trust and faith” in PwC as his tax advisers at the time.

If HMRC’s assessment of what Hargreaves owes in tax is correct, his ‘loss’ in relation to that tax year will be around £135 million including interest – while he would retain £102 million from his original share sale, plus interest. As reported by the Financial Times and Bloomberg news, PwC is seeking to throw out aspects of the case, and said in a statement that it believes the lawsuit will ultimately fail.

The story has much in common with Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who sued Deloitte and Linklaters  in 2018, in relation to a similar tax gambit. While the sale of her 15.9% stake in the Premier League footballing institution to majority owner Stan Kroenke therefore constituted a total profit, Bracewell-Smith was left furious that she was expected to pay tax on the loan notes used to purchase her share of the club. Bracewell-Smith described this taxation as a £10 million ‘loss’, and further sued for more than £1 million in damages, incurred by her  £1,249,815 move to the city-state tax-haven of Monaco to avoid additional taxation.

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Andersen Tax

Connect with us, newsletters, the battle between matalan founder hargreaves and hmrc, tax investigations partner, andrew park , discusses the outcome of the nearly 20-year battle between hmrc and matalan founder john hargreaves, in solicitors journal..

Andrew’s article was published in Solicitors Journal, 6 May 2022, and can be found here .

The tax saga of John Hargreaves certainly got noticed. Few individuals receive tax assessments for £84m of tax. Fewer still succeed in overturning such vast assessments at the First-Tier Tax Tribunal (“FTT”). However, in the interim between the FTT decision and the appeal to the Upper Tribunal – J Hargreaves v HMRC [2022] UKUT 34 (TCC) – the legal ground shifted beneath the taxpayer’s feet.

The entrepreneur behind Matalan had sold c. £231m of shares in the company in May 2000 – at a time when he considered himself to have recently become a non-UK resident denizen of Monaco. Most of the potential liability – some £80m of it – was to Capital Gains Tax and, since he did not believe he had such a liability and had no unrelated gains to declare, he did not complete the CGT pages of his UK Self-Assessment Tax Return for the year.

Mr Hargreaves’s 2000/01 tax return was not picked up for enquiry by HMRC within the statutory 12-month window after he filed the return on 31 January 2002. Accordingly, when it later came to HMRC’s attention that there was a potential deficiency and it embarked on an investigation, HMRC was required to raise a “discovery assessment”. When HMRC finally did so on 9 January 2007 it was outside the statutory four-year window after the end of the tax year in question to raise a discovery assessment on an “innocent error” and relied instead on being within the six-year limit for raising a discovery assessment on an error brought about carelessly.

Mr Hargreaves’s appeal to the FTT in 2019 was multi-pronged. His Leading Counsel argued that:

1. “Staleness Point” – any discovery made by HMRC was “stale” by the time that HMRC finally acted on it to raise a discovery assessment because HMRC had waited some three years after the potential deficiency came to its attention.

In any event, no discovery was made because dependent upon the negligence, information and practice conditions in the s29 Taxes Management Act 1970 (“TMA 1970”) –

2. “Negligence Condition” – the situation was not brought about by the negligent conduct either of Mr Hargreaves or PwC – his then agent.

3. “Information Condition” – a discovery could not in any case be made because HMRC had all relevant information in the submitted tax return, had its opportunity to open an enquiry within the 12-month window and failed to do so.

4. “Practice Condition” – based on generally accepted practice, Mr Hargreaves was non-UK resident and non-UK ordinarily resident at the time he disposed of the shares.

The FTT allowed Mr Hargreaves’s appeal on the Staleness Point but rejected his arguments that no discovery had been made based on failure to meet the discovery conditions. In the FTT’s view a valid discovery was made but it was made at least three years before the assessment was raised. The FTT concluded that “the discovery has lost its quality of newness and become stale by the time the assessment was made. Accordingly, the assessment cannot stand.”

HMRC duly appealed the FTT decision on the ground that the discovery was not stale, and Mr Hargreaves appealed on the other three grounds that no discovery had been made lest HMRC succeed on the staleness point.

It was at this stage – between the FTT decision and the Upper Tribunal hearing the appeal – that the foundations of Mr Hargreaves’s initial success shifted decisively under his feet. The concept of “staleness” in discovery cases was something which only started to emerge in 2008 when some tax tribunals began to accept the inference that for something to be a “discovery” within the context of the longstanding legislation in TMA 1970 common-sense interpretation dictated it needed to be new and fresh – or else what was being discovered to justify raising an assessment outside the enquiry window. Over time, a rule of thumb emerged that if HMRC failed to raise a discovery assessment within anything approaching three years of making a discovery then it had no valid fresh discovery with which to raise an assessment. To many of us, this seemed an equitable and valuable taxpayer protection from being under investigation without end – with all the stress and professional costs and distraction from the rest of life that this involves. However, it was not until 2021 that a case finally came before the Supreme Court involving staleness. The case was CRC v Tooth [2021] STC 1049 and it brought the whole edifice crashing down. The Supreme Court decided that the notion of staleness simply did not exist within the context of tax discoveries – it never had and why should it, given the Supreme Court considered existing taxpayer protections were enough.

At a stroke, the Tooth decision bound the Upper Tribunal and swept away the basis on which Mr Hargreaves had won at the FTT – accordingly, there was no option but to agree with HMRC that its appeal on the staleness point be allowed. This then left Mr Hargreaves with the three alternative fall-back arguments which had not previously convinced the FTT – in which regard:

• The Negligence Condition – the Upper Tribunal decided that the FTT was entitled to its conclusion that there was a prima facie case that Mr Hargreaves had been negligent in not seeking further advice from PwC. That then shifted the burden across to Mr Hargreaves to displace that prima facie case. At the time the return was submitted there was a respectable body of opinion to the effect that Mr Hargreaves could have rightly claimed to be non-resident and the Upper Tribunal was not satisfied that the FTT could fully support its findings on the Negligence Condition without properly considering what advice PwC might have given and whether PwC might have concluded non-residence had Mr Hargreaves sought further advice from them.

• The Information Condition – the proposition that all necessary information was available within the enquiry window was rejected because the Upper Tribunal found that the taxpayer could not demonstrate that a hypothetical HMRC officer would have awareness of an actual insufficiency during the normal enquiry window rather than, at best, a possible one. This was because the taxpayer had not completed the Capital Gains Tax pages of the tax return and was irrespective of whether the officer could have realised that the taxpayer was UK resident.

• The Practice Condition – this revisited some of the same key ground as in the pivotal Gaines-Cooper case – R (Gaines Cooper) v CRC [2011] UKSC 47 – that went to the Supreme Court in 2011. Mr Hargreaves attempted to distinguish from Gaines-Cooper in that his matter in 2000/01 predated what was settled at the Supreme Court for later years. However, the Upper Tribunal found that practice in 2000/01 similarly required people to do more than merely mechanically comply with the day count rules in HMRC’s then IR20 guidance and required people to make a “clean break” / leave the UK for a clear and settled purpose as demonstrated by multi-factorial analysis.

Since the Upper Tribunal endorsed the FTT’s conclusions on the Practice Condition, a valid discovery assessment then just relied upon one of the two other two conditions being met. Since it agreed the Information Condition was met, the FTT’s error of law on the Negligence Condition had no material relevance on the ultimate decision about whether the discovery assessment has valid. Accordingly, the Upper Tribunal found for HMRC that the assessment was valid and opted to remake the error it had identified in the FTT’s conclusions on the Negligence Condition.

Even if the outcome is unsurprising after the Supreme Court had swept away the staleness concept in Tooth, the Hargreaves case is an interesting and useful exploration of the bases required for HMRC to make valid discoveries. In this author’s experience, advisers normally focus closely on the characterisation of behaviours for the purposes of the discovery assessment time limits at S36 TMA 1970 and pay the explicit taxpayer protections provided by the validity conditions at S29 TMA 1970 rather less attention. This serves as a reminder that the validity conditions must be explicitly and carefully considered whenever HMRC makes discovery assessments and that a full review of the facts might raise some unexpected and nuanced questions. This case did not ultimately turn on whether the advisor might have reached the same conclusion had the taxpayer sought further advice but another one might.

john hargreaves yacht

Andrew Park

Andrew is the Tax Investigations Partner at Andersen LLP. He specialises in providing solutions to tax problems and resolving investigations and voluntary disclosures with HMRC.

Email: Andrew Park

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Letters from John Hargreaves

Read a random letter


Since 2006, MP has been collecting letters that John sent to those around the world who asked him for CS help.  More than 1,000 letters, written by John over nearly four decades, were provided to us by the recipients.

After organizing the best, editing out personal references and creating the graphic files for printing, the two-volume paperback set is now shipping.

We believe readers will conclude that this collection represents some of John’s finest work.  The letters are substantive, insightful and inspiring.  They reflect his total dedication to the writings of Mrs. Eddy and are replete with citations to her work.

The eBook version includes both volumes.

Each time you visit this page you’ll see a random letter:

Barn House A line before leaving on this matter of control. S&H 177:5-7 and 166:3-7 repay study. Mind’s control is really Mind’s control over its own thoughts and ideas that never leave the Mind that thinks them. As these ideas of ever present goodness and wholeness, the divine nature, are present as your consciousness, so in fact is the divine Mind present as you, and so controlling every function and faculty of your experience. This is what, in the second reference, is called “the conscious control…” (emphasis added). Because “All con- sciousness is Mind, and Mind is God” (Ret. 56:18) the only control is from this Mind. This is conscious control. Mortal mind, being only a term for that which hides the truth, and so nothing in its own right, is unconscious. It can- not control anything. Everything in your experience here and now is the functioning presence of the divine Mind control- ling every effect. Mortal mind, ignorance, may seem to hide from itself this fact, just as the clouds seem to hide the light of the sun. But this light and the spiritual facts of existence are here now and are always apparent to that which lives on the sunny side of the clouds—to that thought that maintains its oneness with the divine Mind and does not identify as a mortal trying to find the light of Truth.

Paperback & Hardback | 6.94×9.21″ | 500 pages Large Print Edition | 7×10″ |  684 pages

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Sign up for essence newsletters the keep the black women at the forefront of conversation., magic johnson kicks off annual star-studded couples yacht trip through europe.

Magic Johnson Kicks Off Annual Star-Studded Couples Yacht Trip Through Europe

Nobody does a couples trip like NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Every year, Johnson and his wife Cookie host a trip around Europe via yacht with some of their favorite people, many of whom are public figures. The couple kickstarted their latest tour in Barcelona.

“We are officially on vacation!! 😁,” the 64-year-old said as the caption to photos with a few of the other couples in their finest threads and a few shots of them enjoying fine dining. “Hanging out with our great friends John and Vicki Palmer and Sam and LaTanya Jackson at Boca Grande in Barcelona, Spain! The food was *chef’s kiss*” he wrote.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Earvin "Magic" Johnson (@magicjohnson)

After visiting Barcelona, the couples’ next stop on the summer tour was the party city of Ibiza. They indulged in seafood and enjoyed some serene views from the yacht and were joined by another star couple, Cedric the Entertainer and his wife , Lorna.

“Today Cookie and I enjoyed a beautiful day in Ibiza, Spain,” he wrote. “We had a wonderful lunch at Juan Y Andrea Formentera with our friends John and Vicki Palmer, Sam and LaTanya Jackson, and Cedric the Entertainer and his wife Lorna. I encourage everyone to have lunch right on the beach at Juan Y Andrea. We ate the catch of the day, fresh sea bass and lobster… So delicious!”

In 2023 , the Johnsons toured Europe and had quite a few celebrity friends come along for that trip. In addition to Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and Vicki and John Palmer, they spent time with Judge Greg Mathis and his wife, Linda Mathis, as well as Michael Jordan and his wife, Yvette Prieto. Johnson also had his kids join the trip last year, including Andre and his wife Lisa, his son EJ and daughter Elisa, and their grandchildren Gigi and Avery.

Some highlights of the trips usually include top-tier meals from a private chef and Fourth of July celebrations. We look forward to seeing where the couples land next and living vicariously through them!

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