In a lengthy decision issued on March 26, 2007, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted plaintiffs’ motion to certify a class action in In re Vivendi Universal, S.A. Securities Litig., Case No. No. 02 Civ. 5571 (S.D.N.Y. March 26, 2007). The securities class action was filed against the French company Vivendi and two of its former officers, Jean-Marie Messier (former CEO) and Guillaume Hannezo (former CFO) on behalf of securities purchasers. According to the class action complaint, beginning in October 2000 defendants made materially false and misleading statements that caused Vivendi securities to trade at artificially inflated prices and these statements included representations made in connection with the December 2000 three-way merger of Vivendi, Seagram Company Limited and Canal Plus, S.A. The class action alleges violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, as well as Sections 11, 12(a), and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.
We do not here summarize the court’s lengthy decision. We highlight, however, the district court’s conclusions that while class action treatment was appropriate for Dutch, English and French shareholders, it was not the “superior method” of litigation for the Austrian or German shareholders and so excluded those claimants from the class.