PracticeConsultingAndersen pays £76m in securities suit

Andersen pays £76m in securities suit

Big Five firm Andersen has agreed to pay $110m (£76m) to Sunbeam shareholders, settling a fraud lawsuit over its accounting work for the embattled appliance maker.

Andersen denied any wrongdoing and said it agreed to settle ‘without admission of fault or liability’.

Andrew Pincus, legal representative for Andersen, said the firm was pleased to resolve the matter, despite having ‘very strong defences to the claims asserted in the class’.

Pincus said Andersen made a ‘business decision’ in agreeing to the $110m settlement, which still awaits court approval. If it is approved it will mean compensation for at least 10,000 shareholders who bought or sold Sunbeam shares between April 1997 and June 1998.

Lawyers representing the shareholders said they were happy with the ‘excellent result’, but added litigation would continue against the former management of Sunbeam including Al Dunlap, the former chairman. A trial is scheduled for 14 January 2002.

Dunlap was fired in June 1998 after the company was forced to restate financial results for the six quarters, triggering shareholder suits and a SEC investigation.

Sunbeam shareholders cannot claim money from the company itself as it has filed for bankruptcy and is currently undergoing restructuring. As part of this re-organisation it has agreed to go private after being listed on the NYSE for nine years.

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