Sunday, February 10, 2008

In the name of research

Attorneys used to chase ambulances. Now they announce an “investigation” into a public company’s pending acquisition and wait for aggrieved shareholders to come forward. Consider the solicitations that have been posted on the internet just in regard to the proposed buyout of Landry’s.

Two days after chairman, CEO and founder Tilman J. Fertitta submitted an offer to buy the 61 percent of Landry’s he doesn’t already own, the Little Rock, Ark., firm of Cauley Bowman Carney & Williams PLC sent out a press release announcing its probe of the $1.3 billion proposal. The deal had been announced just a day earlier. The firm offered to provide advise to Landry’s investors on shareholder rights. Without soliciting stakeholders for a possible lawsuit, the statement noted that Cauley Bowman “is a national law firm that represents investors in securities fraud and corporate governmance class actions.”

Now the firm has competition in the emerging realm of Landry’s related research. On Friday, the Rosen Law Firm of New York City said it was commencing its own investigation. The announcement explained that media outlets had called Fertitta’s $23.50-per-share offer low.

“As a result of this and other information,” the statement explained, Rosen was investigating the fairness of the transaction to shareholders.

Purely coincidentally, shareholders who are dissatisfied with the price might be interested in suing Landry’s if it accepts Fertitta’s offer. Chances are they might need a law firm familiar with the specifics with the situation. One, perhaps, that may have done some research. Looks as if they might have a choice of at least two.

But that’s purely speculation, of course. More investigation would be needed to say something like that outright.

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