Common shareholders of Kinder Morgan filed a class-action lawsuit Monday to stop the $13.4 billion sale of the oil and gas company to its CEO and three private equity firms, according to a news release from the law firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman and Robbins, which represents the shareholders. The suit, filed Monday in Harris County District Court in Houston, claims that the proposed $100-per-share offer is inadequate. The offer by Kinder Morgan CEO Richard D. Kinder and the three firms - Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, American International Group Inc. and a joint venture created by the Carlyle Group and Riverstone Holdings - represents a premium of 18.5% over the stock's closing price of $84.41 before the May 29 offer was made public. The management-led buyout deal also includes the assumption of about $8 billion in debt. Randall Steinmeyer, partner at Lerach Coughlin, did not return calls requesting further information by press time.
The lawsuit is the third suit seeking to block the sale. On May 30, a suit also filed in Harris County court in Houston on behalf of Kinder Morgan common stockholders alleged that the offer price is "unconscionable, unfair and grossly inadequate," according to the complaint. A lawsuit also was filed on May 30 in Johnson County District Court in Olathe, Kan., claiming the asking price is inadequate and unfair, said Samuel K. Rosen, partner of the plantiff's law firm, Wechsler Harwood.
Larry Pierce, Kinder Morgan spokesman, did not return calls by press time.