Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, a national investor-rights law firm, today announced it is investigating extending the class period in the Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) (“Duke”) and Progress Energy, Inc. (NYSE:PGN) (“Progress Energy”) securities class-action lawsuit, which currently is limited to investors who acquired New Duke shares as part of the companies’ merger or who purchased DUK common stock between June 28, 2012 and July 9, 2012. The extended period would include those who purchased Duke or PGN shares after the merger was first announced in January 2011.
Investors may, no later than Sept. 24, 2012, request that the Court appoint them as lead plaintiff for the class.
The suits, filed July 24, 2012, allege that Duke misled shareholders regarding details of their merger. Specifically, the complaints allege that since Jan. 8, 2011, Duke Energy told investors that following the merger Progress Energy’s CEO, William D. Johnson, would take over as CEO of the newly formed company, called New Duke, and that Duke Energy’s CEO, James E. Rogers, would be chairman of New Duke’s board.
As part of the merger, investors exchanged shares of Progress Energy for shares of Duke stock. On July 2, 2012, just after shares were exchanged, New Duke replaced Johnson, appointing former Duke Energy CEO James E. Rogers in his place, according to the suit. Within days it became apparent that Johnson was fired, and that the Duke directors never intended that he become CEO.“This pre-meditated ambush on Johnson and PGN shareholders, admittedly undisclosed to get the merger completed, is one of the more incredulous frauds on investors we have seen in years,” said Hagens Berman partner Reed R. Kathrein, who is leading the firm’s investigation. Following the news, Duke shares have fallen, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has warned that it may cut the ratings of Duke, and North Carolina regulatory agencies and the attorney general have started investigations.
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