According to a press release dated March 7, 2003, at a hearing in Tampa, Florida this morning, the Honorable Richard A. Lazzara of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (the "Court") granted final approval of the settlement of In re Sykes Enterprises, Inc. Securities Litigation ("Sykes"), Case No. 8:00-CV-212-T-26F.
The Court approved the settlement of the above Action for the principal amount of Thirty Million dollars ($30,000,000) cash, plus accrued interest as "fair, reasonable and adequate," under governing federal law. The Court also approved the application of Plaintiffs' counsel for the payment of attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses as reasonable.
This securities fraud class action was filed on behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of Sykes Enterprises, Inc. from July 27, 1998 through and including September 18, 2000. Plaintiffs alleged that Sykes violated sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by improperly booking millions of dollars in revenues in the second quarter of 1998, and in the second and third quarters of 1999 in violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and issuing inflated financial results in order to continue to meet or exceed the consensus expectations of Wall Street analysts, and in order to use artificially inflated stock as currency for acquisitions. On February 7 and on September 18, 2000, Sykes announced that it would have to restate previously reported financial results for the second and third quarters of 1999 and the year-ended 1998, as a result of these improper accounting practices. In the wake of the February and September 2000 disclosures of restatements, the common stock of Sykes, which had traded as high as $52.25 per share during the Class Period, fell to a low of less than $4.50 per share.
On September 14, 2000, the Court appointed the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System and the Florida State Board of Administration as Co-Lead Plaintiffs for the class and the law firms of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP and Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo as Co-Lead Counsel for the class.
The original complaint charges defendants with violations of sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Specifically, the action charges that Sykes Enterprises and certain individual defendants misled investors concerning Sykes' expected 1999 fourth quarter results and that Sykes' financial statements were not prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Sykes Enterprises common stock price plummeted approximately 60% since announcing it would not meet fourth quarter results and that it would delay the release of its financial results for 1999.