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, In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. iVillage Inc. Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02-CV-6637, 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 24, 2002, the Court entered the Case Management Order #1. According to the Order, the actions filed on behalf of the common stock of of iVillage Inc. were consolidated and now carried out under the In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. iVillage Inc. Research Reports Securities Litigation, 02-CV-6637(MP). On March 13, 2003, a First Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint was filed. On November 10, 2003, the Court entered the Decision and Order No. 21 dismissing the complaints with prejudice for the reason that the Complaints fail to state a claim principally because there are no claims in the Complaints that the alleged misrepresentations or omissions proximately caused the losses claimed. The plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal and an Amended Notice of Appeal. On August 29, 2006, the Court entered the Order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit withdrawing the appeal from active consideration, without prejudice with leave to reactivate.
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 as a result of defendants' deceptive and manipulative acts, the market price of iVillage securities was artificially inflated during the Class Period. The complaint alleges that defendants accomplished this by issuing Merrill Lynch analyst reports regarding iVillage that recommended the purchase of iVillage common stock, and set price targets
for iVillage common stock, that were materially false and misleading, lacked
any reasonable factual basis, and were contrary to the actual beliefs held by
the analysts. In addition, the complaint alleges that when issuing their
iVillage analyst reports, defendants failed to disclose material conflicts of
interest that arose as a result of their use of Merrill's internet analyst, Henry Blodget's reputation, influence and favorable stock coverage in order to curry favor with Internet companies and obtain their investment banking business for Merrill Lynch. According to the complaint, defendants maintained at least an "ACCUMULATE/BUY" recommendation on iVillage throughout the Class Period in order to obtain and support lucrative financial deals for Merrill Lynch.