A third firm has emerged to lead shareholder action against listed Australian practice Slater and Gordon.
In an announcement to the Australian stock exchange today, Slater and Gordon said it had received correspondence from Sydney-based Johnson Winter & Slattery Lawyers. In the letter, the firm says it acts on behalf of a shareholder of Slater and Gordon, named as Babscay Pty Ltd, which intends to commence proceedings against the company.
The announcement added: ‘While details of the proposed claim have not been provided, the letter from JWS sets out that the claim will be based on allegations that the company’s financial statements in each of the financial years ended 30 June 2013, 2014 and 2015 contained misleading representations.’
Slater and Gordon does not say whether it challenges such allegations and states that no claim has been filed or served on the company.
In November last year, Melbourne firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers filed a shareholder class action based on their investment losing 95% in value between April 2015 and February 2016.
That period coincided with the £637m acquisition of UK company Quindell’s professional services division, partly funded by a capital raising from Slater and Gordon shareholders.
Sydney-based ACA Lawyers said in November it would be in a position to commence formal proceedings on behalf of Slater and Gordon shareholders ‘over the next four to six weeks’. There has been no update on the progress of this action.
That firm announced a potential class action against Slater and Gordon in December 2015 and has finance from listed Australian funder JustKapital Litigation Finance and London-based Woodsford Litigation Funding.
Slater and Gordon has its own litigation on the horizon: in a statement to the London stock exchange last month, Watchstone PLC (formerly known as Quindell) says it had received a letter from Slater and Gordon stating it intended to issue proceedings by the end of the month.
The letter stated the claim is worth £600m on the basis that ‘but for fraudulent misrepresentation’ it would not have entered a deal to buy Quindell’s professional services division.
Watchstone said it will fight the claim and denies any misrepresentation ‘in the strongest terms’.