CHICAGO (CN) – In a federal class action, Wrigley shareholders challenge the $23 billion sale to Mars, for $80 a share, and object to the more than $70 million in “change of control benefits” for Wrigley directors.
Defendant William Wrigley Jr. controls 40 percent of the voting stock, the class states. Plaintiffs say the rapidly negotiated sale illegally provided “Wrigley insiders and directors with preferential treatment at the expense of the public shareholders”.
They claim Wrigley shares were expected to “pop” – i.e., rise in value – even before the sale was announced. They claim the $80 per share sale price effectively capped the price of the stock. “Thus, Company insiders get to ‘have their cake and eat it took’ while the Company’s public shareholders are frozen out of the Company’s brightening future prospects.”
They claim Wrigley Jr. will get $26 million “change of control benefits” and CEO William Perez will get $15 million.
Plaintiffs’ lead counsel is Lasky & Rifkind of Chicago and Coughlin Stoia Geller of San Diego.