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Signet Settles Shareholder Suit for $240M

Jeweler will pay approximately $35 million, while insurance will cover the remainder.
Mar 31, 2020 7:45 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Signet Jewelers has agreed to a $240 million settlement relating to a lawsuit filed by shareholders. The suit claims the company misled investors regarding allegations of sexual discrimination against its executives and the health of its credit program.

Under the settlement agreement, Signet — which owns the Kay, Zales and Jared banners, along with online jeweler James Allen — will pay approximately $35 million, while its insurance will cover the remainder, according to the company’s annual report, filed last week.

The suit, which was filed by the Public Employees Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) in 2016, and later turned into a class action, claimed Signet did not provide an accurate description of the harassment claims filed against it, and hid the potential liability it faced. It also stated Signet violated federal securities laws by disseminating false or misleading statements to the investing public about the true nature and severity of the allegations, causing shareholders to suffer losses once the allegations were made public and the stock price dropped.

“Signet entered into a settlement agreement in a class-action litigation filed in 2016 regarding some aspects of our past public disclosures,” David Bouffard, Signet’s vice president of corporate affairs, told Rapaport News Monday. “We take all of our legal disclosure obligations seriously, and we have rigorous policies and practices to ensure we make required disclosures.”

However, while the company feels it made proper disclosures, it has decided not to continue the court battle in an effort to save time and money, it noted.

“While we believe this case is without merit, we made a strategic decision to settle the case now, eliminating the risks, ongoing resource needs and the distraction of this litigation,” Bouffard added. “This is a positive step for us, as it will allow us to focus our time and resources on our transformation as we pivot to growth in year three of our Path to Brilliance.”

Image: A Kay Jewelers store in the US. (Shutterstock)
Tags: david bouffard, James Allen, Jared, kay, Path to Brilliance, Rapaport News, Signet, Signet Jewelers, zales
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