Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Williams Companies Agrees to Settle Class Actions

Houston - we have a disagreement.

According to press reports (Wash. Post), natural gas and pipeline company The Williams Companies, Inc. has agreed to settle the consolidated securities class action pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma for $290 million. The company's press release is here.

According to the company's press release, related litigation on behalf of Williams Communications shareholders is still pending.

Co-lead counsel in that case appeared to be Yourman Alexander & Parekh LLP and Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP. A copy of the amended complaint is available here and the opinions on the motions to dismiss are available here.

But according to this release, the litigation is being settled for $311 million. The second release indicates that the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board and the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System are co-lead plaintiffs, and according to the firm's website, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP are lead counsel.

As if things were not murky enough, the complaint available on the Bernstein Litowitz website, here, lists HGK Asset Management, Teamsters Local 854 Pension Fund, Local 710 Pension Fund and Local 710 Health and Welfare Fund, and Gary Kosseff as lead plaintiffs and Schoengold Sporn Laitman and Lometti, Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP, Futterman & Howard, and Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP as co-lead counsel and makes no mention of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board or the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.

Looks like we have to dive into PACER to sort this one out. Stay tuned.

As an aside, The Ontario Teachers press release also notes:
This settlement represents the largest securities class action recovery in the history of Oklahoma.
Any guesses as to the second largest securities class action in Oklahoma state history?

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