The Controversial Apple Settlement

Earlier this month, Apple entered into a settlement of the securities class action pending against it in the N.D. of Cal. The case was originally filed in 2006 and relates to alleged options backdating at the company.

According to a press release from the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (the lead plaintiff in the case), the settlement is valued at over $20 million and consists of a $14 million settlement fund, the payment of about $4 million in expenses and legal fees, and a $2.5 million contribution to corporate governance programs at a dozen universities around the country. The court granted preliminary approval of the settlement on October 7 and the universities have not been shy about announcing their pending good fortune.

But have they jumped the gun? Securities class action settlements rarely draw a lot of attention from the blogosphere, but this one is an exception. Ira Stoll, formerly of the New York Sun and a blogger at Future of Capitalism, wrote a scathing assessment of the merits of the case and settlement. Meanwhile, Ted Frank at the Center for Class Action Fairness believes that the contribution to corporate governance programs violates Ninth Circuit law and plans to file an objection on behalf of class members. (See also this post from CNBC’s business blog.) Stay tuned.

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