SOURCE: Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel

July 15, 2005 15:50 ET

Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel Announces Class Action Lawsuit Against Lazard Ltd.

BALA CYNWYD, PA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 15, 2005 -- A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of Lazard Ltd. (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.

If you are a member of the class described above, you may, not later than August 15, 2005 move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff of the class, if you so choose. A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff.

If you have any questions concerning this case or your rights or interests with respect to these and other matters in this notice, please contact: Marc S. Henzel, Esq. of The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel, 273 Montgomery Ave, Suite 202 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-2808, by telephone (888) 643-6735 or (610) 660-8000, by facsimile (610) 660-8080, by e-mail at or visit the firm's website at

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