According to a press release dated May 25, 2007, on May 22, 2007, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an Order that granted Defendants' motion to dismiss a federal securities class action Complaint filed on March 30, 2006.
On July 11, 2006, the Court entered the Order granting the motion to consolidate the actions and to appoint Aquilino A. Aguellas as lead plaintiff. On September 8, 2006, the plaintiff filed a Consolidated and Amended Class Action Complaint. The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss the Consolidated and Amended Class Action Complaint on November 7, 2006.
The original complaint alleges that, at the commencement of the Class Period, the Company's market share was decreasing and that, rather than reverse this negative trend, or fully disclose it, defendants launched a largely successful campaign that employed channel stuffing and the dissemination of materially false and misleading statements to prop up reported revenues and earnings, and the Company's share price, long enough for Estee Lauder insiders to sell millions of their personally held Estee Lauder shares to unsuspecting investors at prices that were artificially inflated by defendants' false and misleading statements.
The complaint further alleges that the truth began to emerge on or around September 19, 2005 when defendants disclosed that the Company would not meet its guidance for the first half of fiscal 2006. On this disclosure, the Company's stock fell 9%, from $40.51 to $36.05 per share. The stock, however, continued to trade at artificially inflated levels until October 26, 2005 when defendants were forced to disclose that, for the first quarter of fiscal 2006, the Company would earn only $61.8 million, or $0.28 per share, down 38% from the previous year's earnings of $95.7 million, or $0.41 per share, on essentially flat sales. These results were well below analysts' revised consensus earnings estimate of $0.32 cents a share on revenue of $1.54 billion. Following this disclosure of the Company's results and lowered guidance, the Company's share price fell to $30.71. By this time, Estee Lauder insiders had, during the Class Period, sold 3,380,399 shares of their Estee Lauder common stock to unwitting investors for proceeds of $88,077,150.