On October 13, 2022, the Honorable Sharon Coleman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved a $105 million settlement (“Settlement”) of a securities fraud class action against Walgreens and two former Walgreens executives (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiffs originally filed the lawsuit in 2015, alleging that Defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by making misleading statements regarding Walgreens’ acquisition of Alliance Boots GmbH, a Swiss pharmaceutical health and beauty company.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. is a retail pharmacy company, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois. Plaintiffs alleged that in order to receive shareholder approval for the acquisition at issue in the lawsuit, Walgreens made overinflated public statements about its future guidance and concealed negative information regarding drug prices and reimbursement rates. The class is led by Industriens Pensionsforsikring A/S, a Danish pension fund, and represented by the law firms of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP. Walgreens was represented by Sidley Austin LLP.
The Settlement class includes all persons and entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Walgreens common stock between April 17, 2014, and August 5, 2014, inclusive. Defendants do not admit to any wrongdoing but chose to settle the case “solely to avoid the continued distraction and expense of litigation, and [Walgreens] is pleased to put this matter behind it.” Counsel for the Lead Plaintiff explained their rationale for accepting the Settlement, stating that it “provides an excellent benefit to the Class given the significant risks, costs, and delays attendant to proving liability and damages at trial and a likely resulting appeal.” The Settlement amount was favorable for Plaintiffs and represented approximately 9.5% of the Class’s estimated maximum damages. Plaintiffs’ Counsel was awarded attorneys’ fees in the amount of 27.5% of the Settlement Fund, or $28,875,000.
The case is Washtenaw County Employees’ Retirement System et al. v. Walgreen Co. et al., case number 1:15-cv-03187, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
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