SAC Sinks Insurer's Conspiracy Lawsuit

Sep 15 2011 | 3:43am ET

After five years of legal salvos, SAC Capital Management may have finally vanquished a lawsuit accusing it of conspiring to undermine a Canadian insurer's stock price.

A state court judge in New Jersey dismissed Fairfax Financial Holdings' claims against the hedge fund giant, ruling that there is "no direct evidence" that SAC engaged in a conspiracy with other hedge funds and investment bank Morgan Keegan & Co. The judge, Stephan Hansbury, is still to rule on dismissal motions filed by the other hedge funds accused, Kynikos Associates and Third Point.

"Plaintiffs pointed to no direct evidence which establishes a conspiracy of which SAC was part of," Hansbury wrote in a court order signed on Monday. "Most tellingly, is SAC's trading reports in Fairfax securities. The fact that at no time did SAC trade similarly to its alleged enterprise members is baffling, and without explanation by plaintiffs."

Fairfax said it would appeal the ruling, which SAC cheered as the end of a "vexatious proceeding" that "was entirely baseless and without merit."

Fairfax alleges that the three hedge funds and Morgan Keegan worked together to drive down its stock price. According to the insurer, a Morgan Keegan analyst, now deceased, tipped the hedge funds that he was about to publish a negative report on Fairfax.

The victory, if it stands, will mark the second time in less than a year SAC has had such a lawsuit against it dismissed. In December, Valeant Pharmaceuticals paid $10 million to settle a lawsuit filed by SAC over lawsuits filed by Biovail Corp., which was acquired by Valeant. Both Fairfax and Biovail are represented by the same law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman.

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