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Case Status:    SETTLED  
—On or around 07/29/2015 (Date of order of final judgment)
Current/Last Presiding Judge:  
Hon. Douglas L Rayes

Filing Date: November 02, 2006

Apollo Group, Inc. ("Apollo" or the Company) and its subsidiaries, including University of Phoenix, provides higher education programs for working adults in the United States.

The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, the Company and certain of its officer and/or director violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by making materially false and misleading statements to artificially inflate the value of Apollo stock. Specifically, it is alleged that throughout the Class Period, the Defendants represented to the Class that it issued stock options to management in accordance with all applicable laws and rules while, in fact, it "backdated" options granted to all levels of management. On June 9, 2006, in the midst of a nation-wide options scandal in connection with the backdating of options, Apollo announced that it had performed a review of its stock option practices during fiscal 2000-2004 and initially concluded that it had "complied with all applicable laws," and it would hire an outside firm to review those conclusions. The Company flatly denied that it had backdated options. These statements were false and misleading when made because the Defendants failed to disclose or indicate that they knew that the option grant process was deficient and could cause the Company to restate its financial statements.

The Company shocked the investing public when, on October 18, 2006, it disclosed that on June 23, 2006 the Company's Board of Directors appointed a special committee of two independent Board members to oversee the investigation of Apollo's stock option grant practices. Further, it was disclosed that the independent outside Counsel retained by the special committee had themselves engaged independent accounting advisors to assist in the investigation. In addition, the Company for the first time disclosed that "[v]arious deficiencies in the process of granting and documenting stock options have been identified to date." Finally, and most unfortunately for Apollo shareholders, the Company disclosed for the first time that "[t]he accounting impact of these matters has not been quantified. There can be no assurance that the results of the investigation will not require a possible restatement of the Company's financial statements when the potential errors are quantified and assessed."

The Complaint alleges that the market reacted quickly to these announcements. Apollo's stock price plummeted to $37.55 per share from its prior day close of $48.68 per share, a 22.86% drop in one day, on massive volume of 28,738,800 shares, more than fifteen times more than the prior day's volume.

According to an article dated November 15, 2007, on September 11, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona appointed the institutional investor with the largest financial interest in a securities fraud class action as the lead Plaintiff. … The district court found that the Operating Engineers had the largest financial interest in the case and was presumed to be the most adequate Plaintiff.

On November 23, 2007, the lead Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. Defendants filed motions to dismiss on January 22, 2008. The judge denied Apollo's motion in part and dismissed several individual Defendants on March 31, 2009. After quickly filing a motion for reconsideration, Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint on April 30, 2009, addressing deficiencies in allegations against all Defendants. On June 15, 2009, the Defendants filed motions to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. On February 22, 2010, the lead Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration was granted in part and denied in part.

According to the Order signed by Judge Robert C. Broomfield on March 31, 2011, the Defendant's motion to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint is granted. The Second Amended Complaint is dismissed with prejudice, and the Clerk's Judgment was entered the next day in favor of Defendants and against Plaintiff.

On December 10, 2013, lead Plaintiff filed its Opening Appellants’ Brief with the Ninth Circuit.

On March 3, 2014, Defendants filed their Answering Brief with the Ninth Circuit. Thereafter, Judge Cahill made a mediator’s proposal, which was separately accepted by the parties, resulting in an agreement to settle the Litigation as reflected in this Stipulation.

On September 26, 2014, the parties filed a joint motion requesting that the Ninth Circuit enter an order remanding the action to the Court for the purpose of considering a settlement.

On September 30, 2014, the Ninth Circuit entered an order denying the motion for limited remand without prejudice to a renewed motion that demonstrates the Court has indicated its willingness to consider the proposed Settlement.

On February 15, 2015, the parties entered into a Stipulation of Settlement. The Court granted preliminary approval of the Settlement on April 24. On July 29, the Court granted final approval of the Settlement and entered Final Judgment.

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