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Leading class actions firm Slater and Gordon together with shareholder claim manager Investor Claim Partner (ICP) and litigation funder Woodsford Litigation Funding have reached a conditional $35 million class action settlement on behalf of shareholders against Vocus Group Ltd.

Vocus Group Ltd. is one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies and listed on the ASX in 2010.

Vocus was alleged to have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in providing guidance for FY2017 in late November 2016 and confirming it in late February 2017, before a downgrade in early May 2017 saw the share price fall by about 30%.

The claim was for shareholder losses arising from an inflated share price as a result of alleged misleading statements and omissions regarding forecast FY17 financial performance.

Significantly, the $35 million settlement has been achieved just eight months after filing the claim in April 2019.

The parties made a joint application before Justice Moshinsky in the Federal Court at an early stage, seeking an expedited process designed to facilitate early mediation.

The parties agreed to undertake an alternative dispute resolution process, involving the early provision of relevant documents to Slater and Gordon Lawyers and referral of the proceeding to early mediation.

Slater and Gordon Principal Lawyer Kirsten Morrison said the case demonstrated the flexibility of the class actions framework in the Federal Court.

“In appropriate cases and where there is cooperation between the parties, the process can be used to facilitate less adversarial, more streamlined case management, designed to fast-track meaningful settlement discussions,” Ms Morrison said.

“We are pleased that we were able to achieve an efficient resolution delivering what we believe is a fair and reasonable outcome for group members while minimising delay and costs.”

“Subject to court approval, our focus will now be on ensuring that the proceeds are delivered to group members as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Ms Morrison said.

Charlie Morris, Chief Investment Officer of Woodsford Litigation Funding said: “Woodsford is delighted to have assisted shareholders in achieving an early resolution of their claims against Vocus. The modest funding fee charged by Woodsford has helped to maximise the returns to group members.”

ICP Chief Executive John Walker said the process of filing consent orders with a timetable to mediation with the initial pleading provided a model for a fair, efficient and lower cost mechanism for the resolution of shareholder claims.

Media Contact Therese Allaoui (03) 9602 6844 / 0428 994 937