Another class-action lawsuit has been filed against online stamps company Stamps.com Inc. and its current and former officers, directors and underwriters.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by New York-based law firm Stull, Stull & Brody, was the fifth in two weeks related to Stamps.com's June 25, 1999, initial public offering.
The latest lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York on behalf of purchasers of Stamps.com common stock between June 25, 1999, and May 16, 2001.
Like the other lawsuits, the complaint alleges that Stamps.com, Santa Monica, CA, and its officers and directors violated the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The suit claims that the company sold Stamps.com common stock in an IPO and a secondary offering without disclosing to investors that at least one of the lead underwriters in the IPO had solicited and received excessive and undisclosed commissions from certain investors.
The lawsuit also charges that in exchange for the commissions, lead underwriter BancBoston allocated Stamps.com shares to customers at the IPO price of $11 per share. To receive such allocations at $11, BancBoston's brokerage customers had to agree to buy additional shares in the aftermarket at higher prices. This artificial price inflation, the complaint alleges, allowed both BancBoston and its customers to reap profits by buying Stamps.com stock at the $11 IPO price, then selling it later for a profit at inflated aftermarket prices, which rose as high as $45.81 during its first day of trading.
The lawsuit also charges that Stamps.com was able to price the secondary offering of Stamps.com stock at an artificially high price of $65 per share because of the continued effects of the alleged violations.
The plaintiffs seek to recover unspecified damages on behalf of all those who purchased or otherwise acquired Stamps.com securities during the period in question.