North Carolina Business Litigation Report

Possible Settlement Announced In Wachovia-Wells Fargo Merger Litigation

Wachovia and Wells Fargo have probably reached a settlement with the Plaintiff in the class action lawsuit over the merger between the two banks.  The settlement, announced in Wachovia's Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday evening, will if finalized require approval by the North Carolina Business Court.

The 8-K filing references a Memorandum of Understanding setting out the anticipated terms of the settlement.  The Memorandum wasn't a part of the SEC filing, but the filing says that Wachovia and Wells Fargo will agree not to appeal the (pretty insignificant) win by Plaintiff on the invalidity of the 18 month "tail" in the Merger Agreement, and Wachovia will agree to make additional disclosures in its proxy statement.

The filing says the following:

Wachovia and Wells Fargo agreed not to appeal from the portion of the Court’s Order dated December 5, 2008 that enjoins the 18 Month Tail Provision. Wells Fargo for its part also agreed to waive the enforceability by Wells Fargo of the 18 Month Tail Provision to the extent enjoined by the Court’s Order. Wachovia and Wells Fargo also agreed to make certain additional disclosures related to the proposed merger, which are contained in this Form 8-K. The memorandum of understanding contemplates that the parties will enter into a stipulation of settlement.

The stipulation of settlement will be subject to customary conditions, including court approval following notice to Wachovia’s shareholders. In the event that the parties enter into a stipulation of settlement, a hearing will be scheduled at which the Court will consider the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the settlement. There can be no assurance that the parties will ultimately enter into a stipulation of settlement or that the Court will approve the settlement even if the parties were to enter into such stipulation. In such event, the proposed settlement as contemplated by the memorandum of understanding may be terminated.

The Form 8-K also contains the additional disclosures which Wachovia agreed to make in its proxy statement. There's nothing particularly new or revealing in those.

The picture of the Wachovia sign at the top is from CounterBreak, on Flickr.  

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Mack Sperling
Brooks Pierce, LLP
2000 Renaissance Plaza
230 North Elm Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
336.373.8850

1600 Wachovia Capitol Center
150 Fayetteville Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
919.839.0300