SkillSoft PLC, a provider of e-learning courseware and Referenceware for business and IT professionals, has agreed to settle the class action lawsuits filed against the company and certain of its former and current officers and directors in late 2002 alleging violations of the federal securities laws in connection with the restatement of SmartForce PLC’s historical financial statements.
Under the terms of the settlement, SkillSoft will pay a total of $30.5 million to the class, with one-half payable shortly after preliminary approval (which may occur in the next 30 days) and the balance in approximately one year. The company has been in and will continue to have discussions with its insurers and hopes they will contribute a portion of the settlement amount. The settlement is subject to court approval.
“The settlement of these cases brings closure to the last significant pending litigation matter against the company on terms that our board of directors believes are in the best interests of the company and our shareholders,” commented Chuck Moran, president and CEO. “The company can now redirect the attention and financial resources required by defending such litigation on building on the operational success it experienced in fiscal 2004 and the execution of our fiscal 2005 business plan.”
SkillSoft’s previously announced financial outlook for fiscal 2005 (ending Jan. 31, 2005) – net income in the targeted range of $0.20 to $0.22 per basic and diluted share – did not take into account the impact of the resolution of litigation matters.
The company will update its fiscal 2005 outlook when it releases the results for its fiscal first quarter ending April 30, 2004.
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