Investors have dropped their class action against listed litigation funder Burford Capital, the company confirmed today.
The financier reported to the London Stock Exchange today that the US securities action filed in August last year has been withdrawn by the plaintiffs and dismissed in its entirety. Burford said there is no litigation pending against it at present, other than ‘ordinary course skirmishing’ within a small number of ongoing funded investment matters.
The news found immediate favour with the market, with Burford shares on the London Alternative Investment Market (AIM) rising 3.3% this morning.
The class action had been filed by New York Rosen Law, a specialist in investor claims, amid a time of turmoil for Burford, one of the world's biggest litigation funders.
The company had been subjected to an attack from short-seller Muddy Waters, which made various statements about Burford’s financial accounts and management structure.
The lawsuit had alleged that Burford made false and/or misleading statements on its returns. Burford denied making any false statements and denied being in financial difficulty.
The company today announced a number of senior personnel changes, including appointing Aviva Will and David Perla as co-chief operating officers, and said it retained the ‘deepest management bench in the industry’. Directors David Lowe and Sir Peter Middleton will leave the board over the next 18 months and replacements are being sought.
The company had previously announced plans to either add a US listing on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ or to migrate to the London Stock Exchange main market. It has now decided to seek a full-fledged US listing of its ordinary shares: once effective, shares will trade on both the US exchange and AIM market of the LSE.
In response to shareholder inquiries, Burford today also confirmed it will provide in its 2019 annual report information about management compensation (including individual compensation disclosure for chief executive Christopher Bogart and chief investment officer Jonathan Molot) consistent with the disclosure obligations to which it will be subject under its potential US listing, even though those obligations will not yet have taken effect.
Full year results for the year ended 31 December will be released on 24 March.
A spokesperson for Muddy Waters said: 'We would also caution anyone against interpreting the litigation dismissal as affirmation that there is no misleading conduct or wrong-doing at the company. It is nothing more than the reality of the US being overly litigious. Lawsuits get filed and dismissed all the time, which in this case is ironic, given Burford’s own contribution to the clogged toilet that is the US court system.'