KESSLER TOPAZ MELTZER & CHECK, LLP - Announces the Filing of an Investor Securities Fraud Class Action Lawsuit Against THE KRAFT HEINZ COMPANY (KHC) with Expanded Class Period

PRNewswire 15-Mar-2019 6:39 PM

RADNOR, Pa., March 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The law firm of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP announces that it has filed a class action complaint against The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC) ("Kraft Heinz") on behalf of investors who purchased Kraft Heinz securities between July 6, 2015 and February 21, 2019, inclusive (the "Class Period"). This action, captioned Iron Workers District Council (Philadelphia and Vicinity) Retirement and Pension Plan v. The Kraft Heinz Company, et al., Case No. 19-cv-01845 (the "Iron Workers District Council Action"), was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

KTMC (PRNewsFoto/Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check)

There are two other related class action cases pending against Kraft Heinz, one in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the other in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  The first-filed action issued a notice of its filing pursuant to the federal securities laws on February 24, 2019 which triggered the deadline of April 25, 2019 for any investors who purchased Kraft Heinz to seek to be appointed as a lead plaintiff representative of the class.  The filing of the Iron Workers District Council Action does not change the April 25, 2019 lead plaintiff deadline.  For additional information or to learn how to participate in this action please visitwww.ktmc.com/kraft-heinz-securities-class-action.

Kraft Heinz is one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world.  It manufactures and markets food and beverage products through its numerous iconic brands, including Heinz, Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Velveeta, Lunchables, Planters, Maxwell House, Capri Sun, Ore-Ida, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, and many others.

The Iron Workers District Council Action alleges that, throughout the Class Period, the defendants made materially false, and/or misleading statements, and failed to disclose material adverse facts about Kraft Heinz's business, operations, and prospects.  Specifically, defendants: (i) misrepresented that the Zero Based Budgeting and other cost-saving measures would deliver increased profitability while simultaneously maintaining base business momentum; (ii) failed to disclose known trends that were negatively impacting Kraft Heinz's organic sales growth and profitability; (iii) falsely represented the ability of the company's pipeline of new products to generate organic growth; (iv) falsely stated that "main-stays like Oscar Mayer [and] Kraft cheese" were "tangible drivers of [a] turnaround in the second half of 2018"; (v) failed to disclose known trends that resulted in the intangible asset impairments associated with Kraft Heinz's Oscar Mayer and Kraft brands; and (vi) failed to disclose known trends that resulted in the goodwill impairments affecting its U.S. Refrigerated and Canada Retail divisions.  As a result of the foregoing, defendants' positive statements about Kraft Heinz's business, operations, and prospects following the merger were materially false and/or misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis.

The Class Period begins on July 6, 2015, when the shares of newly-formed Kraft Heinz began trading at an opening price of $71.00 per share.  Shortly before this date, on April 10, 2015, Heinz issued financial statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") touting the benefits of the merger including "an enhanced competitive and financial position, increased diversity and depth in its product line and geographic areas (providing for significant international growth opportunities) and the potential to realize, according to Heinz management, an estimated $1.5 billion in annual cost savings from the increased sale of the new organization, the sharing of best practices and cost reductions by the end of 2017."  Investors began to learn the truth about Kraft Heinz's operations through a series of disclosures during Class Period in which Kraft Heinz reported disappointing results but continued to assure investors about its prospects for profitable growth.

Finally, on February 21, 2019, Kraft Heinz announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2018, which fell well below expectations.  Kraft Heinz also announced that its poor performance required it to take a $15.4 billion non-cash impairment charge related to the goodwill and intangible assets driven "primarily [by] the Kraft and Oscar Mayer trademarks" and due "primarily [to] U.S. Refrigerated and Canada Retail."  Additionally, Kraft Heinz disclosed that it had received a subpoena in October 2018 from the SEC associated with an investigation into its accounting policies, procedures, and internal controls and that, because of an internal investigation, it recorded a $25 million increase to cost of goods sold ("COGS") due to its misstatement of previous COGS figures.  Further, Kraft Heinz announced it was lowering its quarterly dividend by $0.225, to $0.40 per share.

Following this news, the price of Kraft Heinz common stock fell over 27%, from a close of $48.18 per share on February 21, 2019, to close at $34.95 per share on February 22, 2019.

Kraft Heinz investors who wish to discuss this action and their legal options are encouraged to contact Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP (James Maro, Jr., Esq. or Adrienne Bell, Esq.) at (888) 299-7706 or at info@ktmc.com.

Kraft Heinz investors may, no later than April 25, 2019, seek to be appointed as a lead plaintiff representative of the class through Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, or other counsel, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member. A lead plaintiff is a representative party who acts on behalf of all class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed as a lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class in the action. Your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by the decision of whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff.

Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check prosecutes class actions in state and federal courts throughout the country. Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check is a driving force behind corporate governance reform, and has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of institutional and individual investors from the United States and around the world. The firm represents investors, consumers, and whistleblowers (private citizens who report fraudulent practices against the government and share in the recovery of government dollars). For more information about Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, please visit www.ktmc.com.

Contacts
Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP
James Maro, Jr., Esq. or Adrienne Bell, Esq.
280 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087
(888)-299-7706 or (610)-667-7706
info@ktmc.com

 

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SOURCE Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP