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. B2B HOLDRs Securities Litigation, 02-CV-5002, 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 19, 2002, the Court entered the Case Management Order #1. According to the Order, the actions filed on behalf of purchasers of depositary receipts of the Merrill Lynch B2B HOLDRs/SM Trust were consolidated and now carried out under In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. B2B HOLDRs Securities Litigation, 02-CV-5002(MP). On March 14, 2003, an Amended Complaint was filed. 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 defendants violated Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 by issuing a series of false and misleading statements, and omissions of material fact contained in the Prospectus filed with the SEC on February 24, 2000, for the issuance and initial public offering (the "Offering") of B2B Internet HOLDRS depository receipts, through which defendants raised over $950 million. In particular, it is alleged that the Prospectus was materially false and misleading because it failed to disclose that defendants recommended the purchase of and set price targets for stocks of certain of the companies that were included as assets of the Trust (the "Underlying Securities") without any reasonable factual basis therefor, failed to disclose significant material conflicts of interest to obtain investment banking business for Merrill Lynch and failed to disclose material, non-public, adverse information which they possessed about such companies, as well as their true opinion about such companies. It is further alleged that the Prospectus failed to disclose that, consequently, stocks of the Underlying Securities covered by Merrill Lynch traded at artificially inflated prices, which in turn artificially inflated the price of the B2B Internet HOLDRS throughout the Class Period, causing plaintiff and the other members of the Class to suffer damages.