Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Options Backdating And Securities Class Action Lawsuits

Securities Litigation watch has been keeping a list of firms that have been hit with securities class action lawsuits. Here's what they have on the list so far (I've put tickers up in case you want to check them with Google or Yahoo! Fniance:
  • American Tower Corp (AMT)
  • Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD )
  • Brooks Automation, Inc (BRKS)
  • Comverse Technology, Inc. (CMVT)
  • Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR)
  • KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC)
  • Mercury Interactive Corp. (MERQ.PK)
  • Rambus, Inc. (RMBS)
  • Safenet, Inc. (SFNT)
  • UnitedHealth Group, Inc. (UNH)
  • Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (VTSS.PK)
Bookmark the list - I'm sure it'll grow quickly.

I'm actually surprised that the list is so small. At a recent conference I was talking to a friend of mine who's done quite a bit of corporate governance work. He said he's met a number of securities class-action lawyers. A couple of them would file preemptive lawsuits as soon as a firm's stock price dropped by a certain amount. I doubt (and hope) they're representative of the legal profession as a whole. Or at least I hope not - my friend described them as the "ambulance chasers of the securities class action world", complete with flashy jewelry and all the trappings.

But if they are, I'd expect the postdating-related floodgates to open wide in the next couple of months.

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