NEW YORK (January 15, 2015) — Labaton Sucharow LLP announced today the settlement of the derivative action brought against the board of directors of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. (Freeport) on behalf of co-lead plaintiff State-Boston Retirement System. The $137.5 million settlement, subject to court approval, is one of the largest derivative settlements in the Delaware Court of Chancery history. The settlement terms also contain an unprecedented provision, allowing direct payments to stockholders by means of a special dividend.
State-Boston Retirement System's Chairman of the Board, Daniel J. Greene, Esq. said, "We are extremely pleased to represent Freeport's shareholders in achieving one of the top derivative settlements in the Court of Chancery's history. State-Boston Retirement System is committed to protecting shareholder rights and promoting corporate governance reforms on behalf of shareholders."
The settlement consists of $137.5 million in cash and certain corporate governance reforms to be implemented and maintained by Freeport for at least three years. State-Boston Retirement System brought the case along with co-lead plaintiffs Dauphin County Employee Retirement Fund; Amalgamated Bank as Trustee for the LongView LargeCap 500 Index Fund, LongView LargeCap 500 Index VEBA Fund, LongView Quantitative LargeCap Fund, and LongView Quantitative LargeCap VEBA Fund; and City of Roseville Employees' Retirement System. Chimicles & Tikellis LLP, Bernstein Liebhard LLP, Grant & Eisenhofer PA, and Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP also serve as co-lead counsel.
This derivative action arose from Freeport's acquisitions of Plains Exploration & Production Co. and McMoRan Exploration Co. in early 2013, totaling approximately $20 billion. Freeport stockholders alleged the transactions were tainted due to the overlapping boards and ownership of the three companies involved. Represented by Labaton Sucharow attorneys Christine S. Azar and Ira A. Schochet, State-Boston Retirement System and co-lead plaintiffs claimed that the board of Freeport approved the transactions in pursuit of its own interests and in breach of its fiduciary duty to stockholders.
Partner-in-charge of Labaton Sucharow's Delaware office, Christine Azar noted, "We are pleased to be able to provide the stockholders of Freeport a significant monetary recovery and to enhance the company's governance structure going forward."
The case is In re Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. Derivative Litigation, No. 8145-VCN (Del. Ch.).
For a detailed description of the case, click here.