SOURCE: Lazard Ltd.

June 21, 2005 12:00 ET

Abraham Fruchter & Twersky LLP Files Class Action Suit Against Lazard Ltd.

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 21, 2005 -- Abraham Fruchter & Twersky LLP today announced that a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of Lazard Ltd. ("Lazard" of the "Company") (NYSE: LAZ) publicly-traded securities who purchased such securities pursuant and/or traceable to the Company's false and misleading Registration Statement and Prospectus issued in connection with the initial public offering of Lazard shares (the "IPO"), together with those who purchased their shares in the open market between May 4, 2005 and May 12, 2005 inclusive (the "Class Period").

Lazard is a financial advisory and asset management firm. The complaint alleges that Lazard, Goldman Sachs & Co ("Goldman") (the lead underwriter of the IPO), and certain of the Company's officers and directors violated the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing a materially false and misleading Registration and Prospectus in connection with the Company's IPO, which was priced at $25 per share, and continuing to conceal material facts about the true value of the Company's stock price after the stock began to trade on the open market.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that the Registration Statement/Prospectus failed to disclose, among other things, that: (a) the basis for the $25 price for shares sold in the IPO was to enable defendant Bruce Wasserstein (the Company's Chief Executive Officer) to raise sufficient funds to gain control of the Company from Michel David Weill ("David Weill"), a cousin of the Company's founders; (ii) that prior to the IPO, market demand had indicated that the proper price for the IPO was only $22 per share; (iii) that to "create a market" and thereby manufacture an appearance that Lazard's IPO was fairly and properly priced, Goldman arranged to sell millions of shares to hedge funds with side agreements that they could immediately "flip the shares" and that Goldman would immediately buy them back; (iv) that the Prospectus had failed to adequately and fully comply with S-K Item 505 which requires a prospectus to describe "the various factors considered in determining the offering price" when common shares without an established public trading market are being registered; and (v) that, in violation of Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, the Registration Statement/Prospectus failed to disclose that Gerardo Braggiotti, the Company's deputy Chairman in Europe and a major rainmaker of new business for the Company, who had only supported the IPO because of a promise (which was later reneged on) that he would be appointed as head of Lazard's European operations, was likely to leave Lazard and/or cause turmoil within the organization as he opposed the IPO and opposed defendant Wasserstein's purchase of David Weill's shares.

On May 12, 2005, only days after the IPO, and right after Goldman stopped buying back the Company's shares, the price of the Company's shares plunged from $25 per share to less than $21 per share.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of Lazard publicly traded securities during the Class Period (the "Class"). The plaintiff is represented by Abraham Fruchter & Twersky LLP, which has expertise in prosecuting investor class actions and extensive experience in actions involving financial fraud.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must meet certain legal requirements set forth in the applicable law and file appropriate papers with the Court by August 15, 2005. You do not need to seek appointment as a lead plaintiff in order to share in any recovery. Under certain circumstances, one or more Class members may together serve as lead plaintiff. You may retain Abraham, Fruchter & Twersky LLP, or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action or you may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

If you have any questions concerning this case or your rights or interests with respect to this matter, please contact plaintiff’s counsel: Jack G. Fruchter, Esq. of Abraham, Fruchter & Twersky, LLP, One Penn Plaza, Suite 2805, New York, New York 10119, by telephone at (212) 279-5050 or toll free at (800) 440-8986, by facsimile at (212) 279-3655, or by e-mail at jfruchter@aftlaw.com.

Contact Information

  • Jack G. Fruchter, Esq.
    Abraham, Fruchter & Twersky, LLP
    (212) 279-5050
    (800) 440-8986
    Email Contact