Bernstein Liebhard LLP Announces Class Action has Been Filed Against Focus Media Holding Ltd.
January 19, 2012
Bernstein Liebhard LLP today announced that a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of Focus Media Holding Ltd. (“Focus Media” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: FMCN) American Depository Receipts (“ADRs”) during the period between September 25, 2007 and November 21, 2011, inclusive (the “Class Period”).
Focus Media is a multi-platform digital media company and operates a liquid crystal display (LCD) network using audiovisual digital displays in China.
During the Class Period the Company reported that it had engaged in several acquisitions, including that of Framedia, Target Media, Focus Media Wireless, Allyes, CGEN and other smaller acquisitions. As alleged more fully in the Complaint, in a research report dated November 21, 2011 (the “Research Report”), Muddy Waters, LLC (“Muddy Waters”) reported that Focus Media deliberately overpaid for these acquisitions, writing down $1.1 billion out of $1.6 billion in acquisitions since 2005 (such write-downs being equivalent to one-third of the Company’s present enterprise value). Muddy Waters disclosed that by November 2011, Focus Media had written at least 21 of its acquisitions down to zero and then given them away for no consideration. Muddy Waters reported that many of these write-downs were not justified, and it was possible that the Company gave these acquisitions away to conceal losses from its outside auditors. In addition, Muddy Waters disclosed that certain Focus Media insiders, including Defendant Jiang, had used the Company as their counterparty in trading in and out of Allyes, earning a total of at least $70.1 million, while the Company’s shareholders ultimately lost $159.6 million. The Complaint alleges that defendants deliberately overpaid for these acquisitions, all but ensuring that Focus Media would incur costs, including those relating to intangibles or goodwill, in excess of its projected costs for these transactions.
In addition, the Complaint alleges that defendants materially overstated that the majority of displays on the Company’s LCD display network were placed in “heavy-traffic areas of commercial office buildings,” when, in fact, only approximately 30% of the displays are in commercial buildings. According to the Research Report, “In Tier I cities, only approximately 45% of [the Company’s] screens are in office buildings. In Tier II cities, only approximately 30% of screens are in office buildings. The balance of screens is substantially all in residential buildings. Residential buildings are inherently less valuable to advertisers than are office buildings.”
Following the issuance of the Research Report, the price of Focus Media ADRs dropped precipitously from a close of $25.50 per ADR on November 18, 2011 (the last full trading day prior to the issuance of the Research Report), to a close of $15.43 per ADR on November 21, 2011, the day that the Research Report was issued, a drop of approximately 40%.
Plaintiffs seek to recover damages on behalf of all Class members who purchased or otherwise acquired Focus Media ADRs during the Class Period. If you purchased or otherwise acquired Focus Media ADRs during the Class Period, and either lost money on the transaction or still hold the shares, you may wish to join in this action to serve as lead plaintiff. In order to do so, you must meet certain requirements set forth in the applicable law and file appropriate papers no later than February 13, 2012.
A “lead plaintiff” is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the court must determine that the class member’s claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain Bernstein Liebhard LLP, or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.
If you are interested in discussing your rights as a Focus Media shareholder and/or have information relating to the matter, please contact Joseph R. Seidman, Jr. at (877) 779-1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernstein Liebhard has pursued hundreds of securities, consumer and shareholder rights cases and recovered almost $3 billion for its clients. It has been named to The National Law Journal’s “Plaintiffs’ Hot List” in each of the last nine years.
You can obtain a copy of the complaint from the clerk of the court for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.