Former Wallabies captain George Gregan may not be required to give oral evidence in a court tussle over an $11 million sports business he part-owns.
Gregan and his two other partners in PTP Fitness had reached an "in-principle agreement" to settle the case outside court, the Federal Court was told on Thursday.
Australia's most-capped rugby union international had been moments away from being called into the witness box for cross-examination on the third day of the civil trial concerning the sportswear and equipment business.
That may still occur on Friday, should the settlement talks break down.
PTP co-founder Alexander Goldberg sued Gregan and fellow co-founder Matthew Dixon, alleging he was unlawfully dismissed from the managing director role while on carer's leave and then shut out of his business.
In a counter-claim, Gregan and Dixon, a former NSW Waratahs player, alleged Mr Goldberg stole intellectual property by registering trademarks in his name and that of his mother's.
In 2020, the company was valued between $11m and $13.2m by one consultant and about $6.9m by another.
Mr Goldberg, 41, and Dixon, 52, both own 40 per cent of PTP while the remaining share is held by Gregan and his wife through their company EG Enterprises.
Mr Goldberg, citing irreconcilable differences with the other part-owners, had been seeking court orders that would have him bought out of the business or have it entirely wound up.
His lawyer had accused Gregan and Dixon, who is married to Mr Goldberg's sister, of acting in bad faith, dishonestly and exercising their power outside corporate law to take over the business in 2019.
The plaintiff also alleged after Mr Goldberg was sacked from his $300,000-a-year position, his business partners authorised manifestly excessive salaries for themselves.
But the former rugby players had argued they used their majority control of the company to take action after finding Mr Goldberg had registered company trademarks in his own name and his mother's.
Their lawyer Robert Newlinds SC told the court this week there was "nothing inappropriate" about the men's remuneration, which was increased after independent advice and rising revenue.
Gregan started a full-time position at PTP a fortnight after Mr Goldberg's sacking. He was initially paid $200,000 per annum, plus superannuation and allowances, court documents state.
That was increased in October 2020 to $432,000 per annum, inclusive of super and benefits.
At the same time, Dixon's salary was increased to $425,000 per annum, inclusive of super and benefits.
Both men are also eligible for a $50,000 performance bonus, they say in court documents.
The parties are due back in court on Friday.
"Hopefully to report good news," Mr Newlinds said on Thursday.
Australian Associated Press