An unseemly squabble between the Daily Mail and The Express over an
astrologer - involving High Court injunctions, breach of contract writs
and pounds 1 million inducements - has been concluded to nobody’s
The Daily Mail’s astrologer, Jonathan Cainer, had become disenchanted
with his pounds 500,000-a-year cut of the Mail’s telephone horoscope
revenue and was lured to The Express in time for the crucial new year
Faced with losing readers and millions of pounds in revenue from
telephone horoscopes, the Mail reacted vigorously.
Cainer claimed the paper offered him pounds 1 million and a doubling of
his cut of the Mail’s telephone horoscope revenue to stay. When he
declined the offer, the paper then threatened to sue him for up to
pounds 2 million for breach of contract, despite the fact that Cainer’s
contract had expired in October 1998.
The cash was to cover the Mail’s already committed costs of promoting
his new year horoscope on TV. The paper also applied for a High Court
injunction to prevent Cainer joining The Express before his nine-month
notice period had been served.
After a meeting of barristers, Cainer reluctantly agreed to a compromise
which allows him to join The Express in February. The angry astrologer
is now kicking his heels at home having reported sick. His daily column
carries a footnote ’Jonathan Cainer is unwell.’
The Mail was expected to go ahead with last weekend’s ’Year 2000
personal forecast for every reader’ promotion, having secured the rights
from Cainer for pounds 100,000.
Meanwhile, The Express has had to shelve its TV campaign promoting
Cainer, which was planned to break on 3 January.
A furious Rosie Boycott has accused the Mail of petulance and sheer
A prescient Cainer concluded: ’In my professional opinion I foresee a
dramatic rise in The Express’ sales for the year ahead and a rapid
decline in the Mail’s fortunes.’