The complaint charges LG.Philips and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. LG.Philips engages in the manufacture and supply of thin film transistor liquid crystal displays ("LCD") to original equipment manufacturers and multinational corporations. It sells its products primarily in the United States, Korea, Asia, and Europe.
The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants made positive statements concerning the Company's LCD business while, unbeknownst to investors, defendants were using artificial antitrust mechanisms, including price fixing, to support the Company's already inflated margins. However, by late spring 2006, as the Company's executives became aware of fines and jail sentences imposed for price fixing in the industry, they began ceasing their price-fixing behavior and rumors about the reasons for the sudden "weak pricing" in the LCD marketplace circulated throughout the markets. Without artificial anticompetitive mechanisms in place, the Company's profits began to fall and its share price declined from $22 to $15.
On December 8, 2006, officials from South Korea's Fair Trade Commission appeared at the Company's Seoul headquarters to proceed with a formal investigation of the Company and its top executives. Then on December 11, 2006, the Company announced it was being investigated for possible anticompetitive conduct in the LCD industry. The announcement spurred a two-day stock slide that erased about $1.6 billion in market value from the top five producers, including LG.Philips.
According to the complaint, during the Class Period, defendants concealed the following material adverse facts from the investing public: (a) from on or about June 2004 until on or about June 2006, LG.Philips and its co-conspirators entered into and engaged in a combination and conspiracy in the United States and elsewhere to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the prices of LCD panel products to be sold to resellers and consumers; and (b) as a result, the Company's shares traded at inflated prices, enabling the Company to consummate its initial public offering raising $1 billion, its secondary offering raising $1.4 billion, and obtain an additional $500 million in other securities offerings on terms otherwise unobtainable but for defendants' conduct, including the use of defective prospectuses for each such offering.
On May 14, 2007, Judge Kenneth M. Karas issued the Order consolidating two related actions under the consolidated action, In re L.G. Philips LCD Co., Ltd. Securities Litigation. Betty O. Abrams and Justin Coren were appointed Lead Plaintiffs for the Class and their choice of counsel, the law firms of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP and Schiffrin Barroway Topaz & Kessler, LLP, were approved as Lead Counsel. On August 8, 2008, the lead plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Amended Complaint. On March 20, 2009, the lead plaintiffs filed a Second Consolidated Amended Complaint, and the defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss the complaint on May 8, 2009.
According to the complaint filed on June 2, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, captioned Eun-Ja Son , et al. v. LG Display Co., et al., case number 10-CV-04380, defendants issued numerous statements materially misrepresenting LG's prospects in the LCD business and the ongoing investigations of LG's anticompetitive practices. Until the end of the Class Period, Defendants failed to disclose that they had been using deceptive antitrust mechanisms to artificially inflate LG's earnings and profit margins and throughout fiscal year 2004, the Defendants' positive claims all shared the common theme that LCD prices would stabilize in the near future and that, as a result, LCD product demand would show a corresponding increase. The Defendants failed to disclose that LG's anticompetitive activities were actually creating the stabilized market. Throughout fiscal year 2005, the Defendants continued to issue positive statements and representations concerning the LCD market and the Company's financial results, while failing to disclose that their participation in an unlawful price-fixing scheme was behind LG's prosperity in the LCD market. This case has been related to 1:07-cv-00909-RJS.