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Leading Italian Shipping Company Moby S.p.A. Files Lawsuit Against Asset Management Firms

Nachrichtenquelle: PR Newswire (engl.)
05.03.2021, 02:39  |  129   |   |   

Lawsuit Details How Defendants Engaged in an Unlawful Campaign to Take Over Moby, Including by Forcing Moby into a Meritless Involuntary Bankruptcy Proceeding

Defendants' Campaign Began in Mid-2019 and Continues Unabated, with Defendants Now Refusing to Engage in Good-Faith Efforts to Restructure the Company – a Restructuring Itself Precipitated by Defendants' Unlawful Conduct

In the Middle of a Pandemic, Defendants' Unlawful Conduct Is Causing Moby's Employees, Customers and Partners Added, Unnecessary Uncertainty

Certain Defendants Traded Moby's Bonds During Moby's Restructuring Despite Being Prohibited from Doing So

Moby Management Seeks to Hold Defendants Accountable and Continue a Tradition – Spanning Five Generations and 140 Years – of Providing High-Quality, Essential Passenger and Freight Services to Customers Across Southern Europe

NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, March 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- On February 22, 2021, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, on behalf of Moby S.p.A. ("Moby" or the "Company"), a leading Italian shipping company, filed a lawsuit in New York State Court in Manhattan against a group of U.S. and European asset management firms and their subsidiaries and affiliates ("Ad Hoc Group") and their representatives (collectively, "Defendants"). The Ad Hoc Group includes New York-based Sound Point Capital Management, LP, as well as UK-based Aptior Capital LLP, BlueBay Asset Management LLP and Cheyne Capital Management (UK) LLP.

Moby and its group of companies ("Moby Group") own a fleet of passenger and freight vessels that is one of the most modern and largest in Europe and is the largest in terms of passenger, bed and vehicle capacity globally. The Moby Group, which has more than 5,800 employees worldwide, operates key passenger and freight routes in the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas, as well as offers critical rescue services in the Mediterranean. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moby Group's fleet had a market value of approximately €1 billion. Moby was founded in 1982 by Vincenzo Onorato, whose family has played a leading role in the Italian shipping industry for five generations.

As detailed in the lawsuit, over a period of 20 months, the Defendants have engaged in a campaign aimed at unlawfully assuming control over the nearly 40-year old Company and, with it, a business the Onorato family has been running for about 140 years. In so doing, Defendants have, among other things, filed a baseless petition seeking Moby's involuntary bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Court in Milan summarily dismissed this petition as being without merit. The Defendants also prevented Moby from consummating a deal with a leading Danish shipping company that would have netted approximately €75 million in revenues, which would have allowed Moby to substantially reduce its debt. In addition, the Defendants have lodged false allegations against Moby and its management (including regarding alleged mismanagement of the Company), thereby impugning a storied name in Italian shipping.

In or around mid-2019, the Ad Hoc Group bought, together with certain other investors, approximately €125.43 million worth of bonds for approximately €37.6 million. The Ad Hoc Group's bonds were guaranteed by €900 million worth of assets belonging to Moby and Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione S.p.A., Moby's main subsidiary.

The Defendants' motivation is clear: to assume control of Moby's assets, worth over €918 million, for approximately €37.6 million.

The Ad Hoc Group's unlawful conduct ultimately forced Moby to file, in June 2020, a petition for a court-supervised restructuring procedure with the Bankruptcy Court in Milan. The Defendants continue to prevent Moby's restructuring, including by repeatedly rejecting proposals that have offered up to a five-fold return on the Ad Hoc Group's original investment.

Certain Defendants traded Moby's bonds despite being prohibited from doing so because the Ad Hoc Group obtained from Moby confidential, non-public information regarding Moby's finances and operations.

The Ad Hoc Group's unlawful conduct – in the middle of a pandemic – is causing Moby's employees, customers and partners wholly unnecessary, added uncertainty.

Through the lawsuit, Moby seeks to obtain recompense for the hundreds of millions of dollars in losses it has suffered (and continues to suffer), as well as punitive damages, as a result of the Defendants' unlawful conduct.

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Leading Italian Shipping Company Moby S.p.A. Files Lawsuit Against Asset Management Firms Lawsuit Details How Defendants Engaged in an Unlawful Campaign to Take Over Moby, Including by Forcing Moby into a Meritless Involuntary Bankruptcy Proceeding Defendants' Campaign Began in Mid-2019 and Continues Unabated, with Defendants Now …

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