Pacific Investment Management Co. fired back at Bill Gross, the co-founder who oversaw the firm's ascent for 43 years, saying his lawsuit over his departure looks more like a screenplay than a legal filing and should be thrown out.
Mr. Gross' claims that PIMCO forced him out to avoid paying him a $200 million cut of last year's bonus pool have no basis in law and amount to “reputational warfare,” PIMCO said Monday in its first response in court to the lawsuit. Last month, Mr. Gross sued PIMCO, once the manager of the world's largest bond fund, claiming he was forced out by a “cabal” of managing directors and that his share of last year's profit was illegally withheld.
Mr. Gross can't claim he had a contract that was broken or that he was forced to resign, or that he was entitled to a third-quarter bonus, PIMCO said in a filing. Some of its filings couldn't be immediately confirmed in state court records in Santa Ana, Calif.
Mr. Gross sued PIMCO on Oct. 8, a little more than a year after leaving for Janus Capital Group. He seeks “hundreds of millions of dollars,” claiming wrongful termination and breach of written contract.
His departure followed a public falling out with others at the firm he co-founded in 1971. Having built PIMCO on fixed-income investments, Mr. Gross opposed the company's expansion into higher-risk asset classes such as equities, commodities, real estate and hedge fund-like products, according to his lawsuit.
PIMCO, now a unit of Munich-based Allianz SE, hired lawyer David Boies, chairman of Boies Schiller & Flexner, to defend the firm. PIMCO is proposing a hearing in March on its request to have Mr. Gross' claims thrown out.