SAN FRANCISCO, April 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hagens Berman updates investors in the following publicly-traded companies and urges investors who have suffered significant losses to contact the firm. Further details about the cases can be found at the links provided.
Aaron’s, Inc. (AAN) Securities Class Action:
The complaint alleges that Aaron’s misled investors by repeatedly affirming the effectiveness of Aaron’s disclosure controls and procedures for its Aaron's Progressive and AB segments and downplaying the significance of an ongoing FTC investigation into the Company’s compliance with federal antitrust laws.
In truth, Aaron’s was involved in a years-long conspiracy with fellow rent-to-own operators, where the competitors negotiated and executed illegal reciprocal purchase agreements. The agreements swapped customer contracts from rent-to-own stores in various local markets. As a result, one party to the agreement closed down stores and exited a local market, where the other party continued to maintain a presence. Apart from harming competition, the illegal agreements defrauded Aaron’s investors, as Defendants knew Aaron’s earnings from its Progressive and AB segments were partially derived from unlawful business practices and were thus unsustainable.
On Feb. 20, 2020, investors learned the truth when Aaron’s disclosed it reached an agreement with the FTC to settle charges, which required the Company to make a whopping $175 million payment and to “enhance certain compliance-related activities.” This news drove the price of Aaron shares down $10.70, or down over 19%, that day.
On Feb. 21, 2020, the FTC shed additional light on the matter announcing that from June 2015 to May 2018, Aaron’s and two other rent-to-own operators (Buddy’s Newco, LLC and Rent-A-Center, Inc.) negotiated and executed reciprocal purchase agreements in violation of federal antitrust law.
Align Technology, Inc. (ALGN) Securities Class Action:
The complaint focuses on Align’s misrepresentations and concealments about the Company’s operations in China, the Company’s most valuable market after the U.S.
The complaint alleges that Defendants repeatedly and positively described the huge market opportunity and tremendous growth in China for Align’s Invisalign products while omitting to disclose material declines in Chinese demand for the products.
On July 24, 2019, after the market closed, the truth emerged when Align announced disappointing Q2 2019 financial results revealing declining Invisalign sales. The Company blamed the poor performance on softness in the China market related to a tougher consumer environment, in stark contrast to its earlier statements.
This news sent the price of Align shares down nearly $75, or down over 27%, on July 25, 2019.
Allakos (ALLK) Securities Class Action:
The complaint alleges Defendants misled investors about the Company’s Phase 2 clinical trial (the “ENIGMA Trial”) for its flagship AK002 drug intended to treat patients with certain stomach diseases. Specifically, Defendants misrepresented and concealed that: (1) the ENIGMA Trial was poorly designed and not well-controlled; (2) Allakos had cherry-picked timeframes to engineer results for the ENIGMA Trial; (3) Allakos used superficial endpoints in the ENIGMA Trial relative to FDA guidance; (4) Allakos inaccurately reported the number of adverse incidents that occurred during the ENIGMA Trial; and (5) the Company failed to report other key data from the ENIGMA Trial.
According to the complaint, investors began to learn the truth on Dec. 18, 2019, when Seligman Investments published a scathing report entitled, “A Suspect Biotech with a Phase 2 Farce, Incredulous Trial Investigators, and Warning Signs of Potential Fraud,” identifying several concerns with the ENIGMA Trial. Among other things, Seligman’s 215-page report concluded that the ENIGMA Trial results “are compromised by 1) glaring omissions, 2) cherry-picked measures, and 3) statistical gimmicks and obfuscation.” On this news, Allakos shares declined $13.25, or about 10%, on Dec. 18, 2019, wiping out over $1 billion in market capitalization.
Crown Castle International Corp. (CCI) Securities Class Action:
The litigation concerns the propriety of Crown Castle’s accounting policies relating to the Company’s services business.
According to the Complaint, Defendants repeatedly represented that the Company complied with GAAP and affirmed the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting, while concealing that Crown Castle was violating GAAP and its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures was ineffective and materially weak. Specifically, Crown Castle was materially inflating its net income, adjusted EBITDA, and adjusted funds from operations.
The truth emerged, according to the complaint, on Feb. 26, 2020, when the Company admitted it improperly recognized the entirety of the transaction price from its tower installation servicers as revenue upon the completion of the installation services. GAAP mandates that portions of the transaction price – those associated with permanent improvements – be recognized on a ratable basis. As a result, net income in 2019 had been overstated by approximately $100 million, and its previous 2020 outlook for net income would need to be reduced by $90 million. In addition, the Company divulged it would restate its financials for 2016-2018, as well as for Q1 – Q3 2019. Finally, the Company revealed its internal control over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures was ineffective as of Dec. 31, 2019.
This news sent the price of Crown Castle shares sharply lower on Feb. 27, 2020.
Whistleblowers: Persons with non-public information regarding AAN, ALGN, ALLK, and/or CCI should consider their options to help in the investigation or take advantage of the SEC Whistleblower program. Under the new program, whistleblowers who provide original information may receive rewards totaling up to 30 percent of any successful recovery made by the SEC. For more information, call Reed Kathrein at 844-916-0895 or email AAN@hbsslaw.com, ALGN@hbsslaw.com, ALLK@hbsslaw.com, and/or CCI@hbsslaw.com.
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Reed Kathrein, 844-916-0895