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CommScope shareholder files suit against co.

Mon, 11/01/2010 - 8:10am
Brian Santo

One of CommScope's shareholders has filed a suit that might hold up the Carlyle Group's acquisition of CommScope. One possible result of the suit would be to put the company into play.

The suit against CommScope claims that the price Carlyle is offering – $31.50 per share – undervalues the company. The total bid will come in at just under $3 billion.

In the run-up to the financial meltdown in late 2008, CommScope's stock was trading in the upper forties and low fifties. The stock took a vicious hit during the meltdown, but once the initial recovery began to kick in, from April 2009 through April of 2010, the company's stock rebounded to trade at around $29 per share, plus or minus a couple of dollars. CommScope's stock hit a year-to-date high of $32.58 on May 3 but dropped as low as $19.27 on Aug. 16. It returned to the mid-twenties just prior to the Carlyle offer.

The new suit seeking to halt the sale to Carlyle was filed in Delaware Chancery Court. The suit claims that the offered price undervalues CommScope, given the yearly high back in May, and that a better price could be gained if the company were to seek other acquisition bids.

The suit also accuses CommScope executives essentially of cutting a sweetheart deal that would gain the executives significant financial windfalls.

Almost simultaneous with its announcement of its intention to buy CommScope, Carlyle put in a similar bid of $31 per share for wireless infrastructure specialist Syniverse – making that deal worth a total of about $2.6 billion. There are lawyers trolling for a plaintiff looking to make a similar claim that the deal is likewise undervalued. Other than a few temporary spikes, Syniverse has been trading within a couple of dollars either way from $18 per share.

Carlyle Group also retains an investment in Insight Communications.
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