On September 5, 2007, the Court issued the Opinion and Order No. 95140. According to the Order, U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan certified the class action, approved the settlement, approved the Plan of Allocation and finalized the award of attorneys’ fees and expenses. On September 19, 2007, the Court entered the Order and Final Judgment for In re Merrill Lynch Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02 MDL 1484.
According to the Notice of Pendency and Proposed Settlement of Class Actions, dated March 19, 2007, for In re Merrill Lynch Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02 MDL 1484, this case, In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. GoTo.Com Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02-CV-3835, is part of a proposed settlement of $125 million in cash. A settlement hearing will be held before the Honorable John F. Keenan, United States District Judge of the Southern District of New York to determine whether the settlement should be approved.
On December 23, 2002, the Court entered the Case Management Order #1. According to the Order, the actions filed on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of GoTo.com were consolidated and now carried out under In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. GoTo.Com Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02-CV-3835 (MP). On March 14, 2003, and December 10, 2003, an Amended Complaint and Second Amended Complaint were filed respectively. On June 2, 2006, the Court entered the Minute Order signed by Judge Michael B. Mukasey administratively closing the case pursuant to Memorandum from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts dated June 15th, 1973.
In October 2002, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted the Merrill Lynch Defendants’ motion to transfer all such cases to the Southern District of New York for coordinated pre-trial proceedings. The cases were transferred to the Honorable Milton Pollack, Senior United States District Judge, and were coordinated under the caption In re Merrill Lynch Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02 MDL 1484.
The Complaint alleges that in an effort to obtain investment banking business from GoTo, defendants issued positive ratings on the Company which were materially misleading as they were inconsistent with their own contemporaneous, private adverse assessments of GoTo. For example, the very day of the initiation of coverage, Blodget admitted in an e-mail that there was "nothing" interesting about GoTo except banking fees. The complaint also describes how defendants made their proposed rating for GoTo more palatable to GoTo management by downgrading a GoTo competitor. However, when defendants learned that GoTo had awarded its underwriting business to another bank, defendants downgraded GoTo in retribution. On April 8, 2002, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that a ten-month investigation had revealed that Merrill Lynch's "supposedly independent and objective investment advice was tainted and biased by the desire to aid Merrill Lynch's investment
banking business." Merrill Lynch's ratings on GoTo were among those
challenged by the Attorney General.