Two law firms have already announced “investigations” of AuthenTec’s board of directors to look for evidence of a breach of fiduciary responsibility regarding Apple’s purchase of the company for $350 million on Friday. Both firms are hoping to land shareholder class actions by showing that AuthenTec’s board undervalued the company in the sale.
In nearly identical verbiage, Levi & Korsinsky and Rigrodsky & Long, P.A. both announced that they were investigating the sale and looking for AuthenTec shareholders to sign up for a suit if it gets launched.
“Under the terms of the transaction, AuthenTec shareholders will receive $8 per share of AuthenTec stock they own,” Levi & Korsinsky said in its announcement. “The transaction has a total approximate value of $350 million. The investigation concerns whether the AuthenTec Board of Directors breached their fiduciary duties to AuthenTec stockholders by failing to adequately shop the Company before entering into this transaction and whether Apple is underpaying for AuthenTec shares, thus unlawfully harming AuthenTec stockholders.”
Along similar lines, Rigrodsky & Long, P.A. said, “The investigation concerns whether AuthenTec’s board of directors failed to adequately shop the Company and obtain the best possible value for AuthenTec’s shareholders before entering into an agreement with Apple.”
The lawsuit threat isn’t technically aimed at Apple, but if they investigations turn into bona fide suits, it remains to be seen if they effect the sale itself.
Many mergers and acquisitions get attorneys sniffing around the deals looking for a breach of fiduciary responsibility by one party or another, and Apple’s penchant for secrecy, enormous cash hoard, and unbelievably high profile exacerbates attention on everything the company does.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.