On 22 July 2016, the Federal Court granted leave to the Applicant to proceed against Vocation in liquidation, subject to certain conditions. We will continue to prosecute the claims of group members and advise them of developments as the matter progresses.
On 17 March 2017, at the request of the lead applicants, the Court ordered that the class actions being conducted by Maurice Blackburn and Slater and Gordon be consolidated into a single proceeding. Each of the lead applicants is now a joint applicant in the consolidated proceeding, and the Court has appointed Maurice Blackburn and Slater and Gordon as the joint legal representatives.
On 17 March 2017, the Court also granted leave for PricewaterhouseCoopers to be joined as the Second Respondent in the consolidated class action.
What is the Vocation class action about?
On 27 October 2014, Vocation Limited (VET) shocked the market when the company publicly announced a settlement with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). The settlement included the forfeiture of almost $20 million of expected payments to VET. The concerns raised by the DEECD and Victorian regulators shook the market’s confidence in VET causing its share price to drop close to 60% ($1.29) on 28 October 2014 and a loss of $350 million in market capitalisation over the following 10 days.
News of the loss understandably surprised investors. It was not until late August 2014 that the company publicly acknowledged that some of its businesses and contracts were under review. In response to press speculation about the future of its contracts with the Victorian government, Vocation represented to the market that the review was not expected to have any outcomes that would be material to Vocation. When Vocation issued its market release on 27 October 2014, following a trading halt, the market took a very different view about the materiality of the outcome of the review.
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A shareholder class action
Maurice Blackburn, Australia’s leading class actions law firm, is representing shareholders in a Federal Court class action against VET.
The class action alleges that in the period from 27 November 2013 to 4 December 2014, Vocation:
- made misleading statements and material omissions in its prospectus before the initial public offering;
- breached its continuous disclosure obligations; and
- made misleading representations.
If Vocation was, or ought to have been, aware of the regulatory reviews and concerns in relation to its subsidiaries at the time of its listing, and it failed to adequately disclose those matters, then investors who either subscribed to the IPO, subsequently purchased ordinary shares in on-market trades or via the institutional placement in September 2014, may have paid an inflated price. The proposed class action would seek to recover the inflation paid by investors.
Funding and representation
Maurice Blackburn’s clients are being funded by International Litigation Funding Partners Pte Ltd (ILFP). ILFP is paying the costs of bringing the proceeding for clients of Maurice Blackburn and, if the class action is unsuccessful, will pay any costs awarded in favour of Vocation that are payable by the lead applicant that represents Maurice Blackburn clients.
If you would like to engage Maurice Blackburn as your lawyers in this class action, you must enter a funding agreement with ILFP. We will not charge you to retain us as your lawyers and there is no cost risk associated if you do participate as a group member. As a client of Maurice Blackburn, costs will be borne by ILFP and will only be recovered in the event of a successful outcome. If we are successful in recovering compensation for you, you will also be required to pay a percentage of your compensation to ILFP.
In essence, if we run the case and win, you will get money back for shares you may have purchased at inflated prices. If we run the case and lose, you bear no costs and no risk.
To retain Maurice Blackburn, we invite you to email us at vocationCA@mauriceblackburn.com.au. Registration involves retaining Maurice Blackburn as your lawyers and entering a litigation funding agreement with ILFP.
Once you are registered you will receive updated information and advice as the case progresses and Maurice Blackburn will ensure that your claim is included in any settlement of the proceeding
The class action is issued as an ‘open class’ which means that if you purchased Vocation shares during the period between 27 November 2013 to 4 December 2014, including any acquisitions made in the IPO or institutional placement, you may be a group member in the class action whether or not you have retained Maurice Blackburn and entered a funding agreement with ILFP.
For further information, or if you have questions in relation to registering to participate in the class action please contact us on 1800 645 488 or vocationCA@mauriceblackburn.com.au
Maurice Blackburn’s Class Actions record is second to none
Maurice Blackburn is renowned for running the country’s biggest and toughest shareholder class actions, having conducted the first case of this kind in Australia and having secured the six highest class action settlements in Australian legal history.
Since the inception of our class actions department in 1998, we have obtained more than $1 billion in compensation for claimants.
Maurice Blackburn is also the only firm to have secured shareholder class action settlements in excess of $100 million. We have conducted several shareholder class actions in line with our aims to provide greater access to justice and enforce Australia’s corporate governance standards.