One factor that contributed significantly to the total number of securities class action lawsuits filed in 2021 and 2022 was the proliferation of SPAC-related securities suit filings. Although diminished in number this year relative to the two prior years, and while the filing pace has declined as the year has progressed, SPAC-related securities suits continue to be filed in 2023. In the latest example of this continuing trend, last week a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities suit against the executives and sponsor of a SPAC that merged with a health monitoring technology company that later went bankrupt. The named defendants include officers of the bankrupt company. While the suit is interesting as an example of the continuing threat of SPAC-related litigation, it may be even more important as an illustration of the way that geopolitical risk increasingly can translate into securities litigation.Continue Reading SPAC-Related Suit Shows How Geopolitical Risk Can Translate into Securities Litigation
As I have previously noted on this site, several international trade regulatory regimes have become increasingly important for companies and their executives. These regulatory regimes include U.S. sanctions, export controls, anti-money laundering (AML), and anti-bribery and corruption laws. Recent developments, such as the War in Ukraine, trade tensions with China, and issues involving digital assets have heightened these concerns. Violations of these regimes can result in regulatory enforcement actions as well as in related civil litigation.
The latest example of a civil action following in the wake of a trade regulation enforcement action is the lawsuit filed earlier this week against data storage company Seagate Technology Holdings plc, after the company was hit with a U.S. Department of Commerce administrative penalty for violation of Export Administration Regulations (EAR) pertaining to the Chinese technology company, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. The recently filed securities suit shows how international trade regulation and enforcement can translate into corporate and securities litigation. A copy of the July 10, 2023, Seagate complaint can be found here.Continue Reading Trade and Export Control Enforcement Leads to Securities Class Action Suit
Over the last few days, at least three U.S.-listed China-based companies have been hit with securities class action lawsuits after Chinese government regulatory crackdowns that targeted the defendant companies’ industries or the companies’ business approach. These developments not only highlight the kinds of regulatory risks all companies face, but also underscore the risks that companies doing business in China face in the political and business environment under the Chinese governmental regime. The recently filed cases also show how these risks can translate into securities class action litigation when the companies involved have securities listed on U.S. exchanges.Continue Reading Chinese Regulators Crack Down, Securities Suits Follow
Businesses these days face a wide variety of headwinds – rising interest rates, economic inflation, supply chain and labor supply disruptions, war in Ukraine, even continued disruptions from COVID – that are interfering with business operations and affecting financial performance. In some instances, these macroeconomic factors are translating into securities litigation. In the latest example of this phenomenon, a plaintiff shareholder has sued video display systems company Daktronics following the company’s announcement that supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and shutdowns in China caused a decline in the company’s sales, which led to a later announcement of a “substantial doubt” of the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The December 21, 2022, complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Video Display Company Hit with Supply Chain-Related Securities Suit
Last summer, I noted on this blog the filing of what turned out to be a total of four separate securities class action lawsuits that were filed against Chinese internet-business firms following a crackdown on their activities by the Chinese cybersecurity regulator. I noted at the time that though these four cases involved circumstances arguably unique to China the cases nevertheless represented examples of the ways in which regulatory risk could translate into securities class action litigation risk.
Last week, two more securities suits were filed against Chinese companies – both involved in the business of providing private educational and tutoring services, a sector that during the past year has been the target of a governmental crackdown – underscoring the extent to which regulatory exposures can lead to securities litigation risk. As discussed below, these latest cases, along with the four prior cases filed last summer, also arguably demonstrate the ways in which securities litigation risk can arise out of political risk.
Continue Reading Political Risk as Securities Litigation Risk
On November 12, 2021, a Chinese court entered a 2.46-billion-yuan ($385.26 million) verdict in a collective investor action against Kangmei Pharmaceuticals, certain of the company’s executives and the company’s outside auditor. The action was the first of its kind in China. The claimants in the case had alleged that the company had engaged in massive accounting fraud by inflating its revenues, profits, and cash. The verdict in the case follows a July 2021 public hearing in the case. A copy of a November 12, 2021 Global Times article about the verdict can be found here. A November 12, 2021 Reuters article about the verdict can be found here.
Continue Reading First-Ever Chinese Collective Investor Action Results in $385 Million Damages Verdict
In recent posts (here and here), I have noted the securities class action lawsuits that have been filed against U.S.-listed Chinese companies following a crackdown by the Chinese cybersecurity regulator. Now yet another U.S.-listed Chinese company has been hit with a securities suit following the cybersecurity regulator’s actions. On July 13, 2021, a plaintiff shareholder filed a securities class action lawsuit against 360 DigiTech, a Chinese company with securities listed on NASDAQ, following news that the company’s app had been removed from major app stores following Chinese investigations of a number of companies’ data security practices. The July 13, 2021 complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Another U.S.-Listed Chinese Company Hit with Securities Suit Following Cybersecurity Regulator Crackdown
After the news emerged last week that Chinese cybersecurity regulators had cracked down on the ride-sharing firm DiDi Global shortly after the company completed its U.S. IPO, the company was hit with a U.S. securities class action lawsuit. However, DiDi was not the only Chinese company that recently completed a U.S. IPO that was targeted by the Chinese regulator. Two other Chinese companies that completed U.S. IPOs in June – Full Truck Alliance Co. Ltd. and Kanshun Limited – were both also notified that their companies were under review by the cybersecurity regulator. And now both of these companies have also been hit with U.S. securities class action lawsuits, as discussed below.
Continue Reading Two More Chinese Companies Hit with U.S. Securities Suits Following Post-IPO Crackdown by Chinese Regulator
On July 6, 2021, after the Wall Street Journal reported that prior to DiDi’s June 30, 2021 U.S. IPO, government authorities had urged the Chinese ride-hailing firm to postpone the offering, but that the company, under pressure from investors, had gone ahead with the IPO anyway, it seemed that it would only be a matter of time before DiDi would be hit with a U.S. securities lawsuit. Indeed, as it turned out, the same day the Journal article appeared, an investor filed a U.S. securities class action lawsuit against the company. As discussed below, the lawsuit is based on cybersecurity and privacy concerns relating to the company’s ride-hailing app. A copy of the investor’s July 6, 2021 complaint can be found here.
Continue Reading Chinese Ride-Hailing Firm DiDi Hit With Securities Suit Related to Its Recent IPO
One of the more interesting developments in recent years has been the global rise of collective procedural mechanisms for aggrieved investors to seek redress from corporate parties for disclosure misrepresentations or omissions. In that vein, the recent revision of the securities laws of the People’s Republic of China are particularly interesting.
As discussed in a recent memo from AIG, presented in conjunction with the Shanghai-based JunHe law firm, the revised Chinese securities laws include among many other changes new provisions allowing for collective investor actions. According to the AIG memo, entitled “Securities Class Actions under the New Securities Law in China” (here), the revised law introduces “western-style class actions to China.”
Continue Reading Chinese Securities Law Revision Introduces “Western-Style Securities Class Actions”