Lawyers seek fees of about $195 mln for LBO collusion settlements

Lawyers who persuaded seven private equity firms to pay $590.5 million to settle lawsuits accusing them of conspiring to depress the prices of corporate buyouts before the financial crisis are seeking fees of about $195 million for their work.

According to a court filing on Friday, the three law firms that led the nearly seven years of litigation are requesting fees equal to 33 percent of the settlement fund, plus as much as $15 million to cover litigation costs.

The law firms are Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd; Scott & Scott, and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. Their request was described in a proposed notice to be sent to class members.

Both the settlement and the fees require court approval. U.S. District Judge William Young in Boston will consider preliminary approval of the settlement and conditional class action certification at a Sept. 29 hearing.

The December 2007 lawsuit was brought on behalf of shareholders in companies that were taken private.

It accused private equity firms of conspiring to reduce competition, refrain from bidding on each other’s buyouts and not trying to outbid each other after buyouts were announced.

The seven firms that settled were Bain Capital Partners LLC, Blackstone Group LP, Carlyle Group LP, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc affiliate, KKR & Co, Silver Lake Partners LP and TPG Capital LP.

Twenty-seven buyouts were originally part of the case, but only eight figured into the settlements: AMC Entertainment Inc , Aramark Corp, Freescale Semiconductor Inc , Harrah’s Entertainment Inc, HCA Inc, Kinder Morgan Inc, SunGard Data Systems Inc and TXU Corp. Some of the companies have since again become public.

The case is Dahl et al v. Bain Capital Partners LLC et al, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 07-12388.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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