Lawsuit filed against Pluralsight alleges tech giant misled investors in recent acquisition

Dana Sohm

Lawsuit filed against Pluralsight alleges tech giant misled investors in recent acquisition

By Lauren Bennett, | Posted - Jan. 22, 2021 at 2:10 p.m.

DRAPER — A group of Pluralsight investors has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Utah-based tech company, alleging they were misled about what they call an unfair price in the recent acquisition of Pluralsight by Vista Equity Partners.

The $3.5 billion acquisition was announced on Dec. 13, with the deal expected to be finalized in 2021 and Vista purchasing the company at $20.26 per share, 25% above the company's average closing stock price for the month before the agreement, according to the original announcement. Once final, the sale would remove the company from the public market and it would once again be private.

The complaint from investors accuses the company of instead giving Vista a 9% discount to the company's 52-week high of $22.36 per share. The lawsuit claims that despite company statements saying there was no pre-sale deal, Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard made an agreement with Vista beforehand to ensure he would continue in his position after the merger.

In the tech company's December announcement of the acquisition, officials said the company had an agreement with certain shareholders that allowed them to vote their shares of the company in support of the sale.

Vermont-based Barr Law Group, which represents Pluralsight's investors, claimed several large investors opposed the merger and wrote a letter to the board in the days following the announcement saying they felt it is worth $30 per share and the lower price was "designed to benefit management."

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Pluralsight said the company does not comment on pending litigation. About one month after the company was acquired by Vista, Pluralsight announced it had acquired San Diego-based Next Tech. Barr Law Group is also investigating Coherent, Zoom Video Communications and EQT for misleading investors.

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