I wonder if JP Garnier has seen the Times this morning?
Two UK pension funds are vying to lead a US class action lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), accusing the pharmaceutical giant of misleading the market over its controversial diabetes pill Avandia.
North Yorkshire Pension Fund and Avon Pension Fund, local government schemes that together manage more than £3 billion in assets, have both applied to be lead plaintiff in the case – a US term for the institution fronting a lawsuit on behalf of other investors.
While UK funds frequently join US class action lawsuits as minor players, it is highly unusual for them to seek such a prominent role. The funds have jointly appointed Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman and Robbins, a New York law firm, to represent them.
The two UK funds are understood to be claiming they suffered losses of roughly $5 million as a result. “We are joining [the lawsuit] because it is in our members’ interests to do so,” Neil Sellström from the North Yorkshire fund said.
“We monitor class actions and when one is launched against a company where we hold or have held the shares, we assess its merits and get involved where we think it is appropriate.”
Avon confirmed its involvement in the lawsuit but declined further comment. A German and a US group are also seeking to act as lead plaintiff.
A judge is expected to make a final decision on which group to pick next week. Both UK funds have indicated they will remain involved in the case in a lesser role regardless. The lawsuit, originally filed in New York on June 11 by the law firm Kaplan Fox, alleges that GSK “engaged in a scheme to deceive the market and a course of conduct that artificially inflated GSK’s stock price”. It claims that GSK “failed to adequately disclose” important information about the risks of the drug and accuses the company of “fraud” and “deceit”.
Full story here.