Two shareholders rescind Heinz lawsuits

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Two H.J. Heinz shareholders who had filed lawsuits over the $28 billion buyout of the Pittsburgh ketchup maker on Thursday asked a federal judge to dismiss their complaints, saying that the price tag is fair.

Attorneys Alfred G. Yates Jr. and Gerald L. Rutledge, who are representing the two shareholders, filed dismissal motions with U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone after reviewing confidential documents related to negotiations between Heinz and its proposed buyers, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, a New York private equity firm.

The lawsuits were filed Feb. 15, one day after Heinz disclosed that Berkshire and 3G Capital had offered to purchase Heinz for $72.50 per share in cash. The $28 billion price tag includes about $5 billion in Heinz debt the buyers would assume.

"The consideration being offered in the merger is within the range of financial fairness," the attorneys for the shareholders wrote.

The lawsuits were brought by Hannon's Inc., a Maryland company that owns Heinz stock, and James Clem, a California resident.

The proposed buyout is also the subject of nine shareholder lawsuits that were filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. On Tuesday, Heinz attorneys agreed to give attorneys involved in those cases the same kind of documents that convinced Hannon's and Mr. Clem to drop their complaints.

Heinz shareholders are scheduled to vote on the offer April 30.

businessnews

Len Boselovic: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941.


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