NEW YORK, March 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, reminds investors that class actions have been commenced on behalf of stockholders of Catalent, Inc. (NYSE: CTLT), Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), DLocal Ltd (NASDAQ: DLO), and Cognyte Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CGNT). Stockholders have until the deadlines below to petition the court to serve as lead plaintiff. Additional information about each case can be found at the link provided.
Catalent, Inc. (NYSE: CTLT)
Class Period: August 30, 2021 – October 31, 2022
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: April 25, 2023
This case is about the rise and fall of a company that initially benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic (also referred to herein as “COVID-19,” “COVID,” or the “pandemic”). As a vaccine manufacturer, Catalent was one of the beneficiaries of COVID because it seemed well positioned to capitalize on the rapidly growing demand for vaccine production capacity. Indeed, Catalent almost doubled its business during the first year of the pandemic when the bulk of vaccines were administered. Catalent’s success during the early stages of the pandemic caused its stock price to soar to record highs. By mid-2021, when COVID-related work dropped off, Defendants engaged in accounting and channel stuffing schemes to pad the Company’s revenues. These schemes gave Catalent the appearance of continued growth, causing its stock price to reach new record highs. Meanwhile, to support these schemes and keep pace with its lofty growth targets, Catalent was cutting corners on safety and control procedures at key production facilities. By late 2022, Catalent reported significant sales declines and excess inventory throughout its supply chain. As a result, Catalent stock dropped to pre-COVID levels causing substantial losses to its investors as they learned that Catalent’s early-COVID revenues were never sustainable, and its Class Period revenues were the product of securities fraud.
By way of background, Catalent is a multinational corporation that manufactures and packages drugs into delivery devices fit for human consumption (i.e., pre-filled syringes, vials, pills, etc.) pursuant to long-term supply contracts with pharmaceutical companies. Catalent directly sells these products to pharmaceutical companies which later sell them through the supply chain to healthcare providers (i.e., hospitals, clinics, etc.), which administer them to patients, who are the end consumers.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Catalent’s quarterly revenue averaged approximately $669 million between April 2018 and March 2020. During the period that those revenues were reported to the market, Catalent stock had an average closing price of approximately $47.57 per share. In early 2020, Catalent took on numerous large-scale COVID projects, including filling vaccines into syringes for Moderna and AstraZeneca. Those projects catapulted the Company’s quarterly revenues to record highs, which averaged approximately $940 million between April 2020 and March 2021, a 40 percent jump over pre-COVID revenues. Over the period when that revenue surge was reported to the market, Catalent stock had an average closing price of $102.42 per share.
By mid-2021, as the pandemic wore on, demand for Catalent’s COVID products decreased because vaccinations had already been administered to a large number of potential patients. For example, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) data indicates that COVID vaccinations in the United States reached an all-time high of 4.5 million doses on April 1, 2021, and averaged 1.5 million daily doses between December 14, 2020 and August 28, 2021. By comparison, CDC data indicates that average daily vaccinations in the United States were under 625,000 during the Class Period.
Despite this marked decline in the demand for COVID vaccines, Catalent continued to report growing revenues and assured investors that customer demand remained strong during the Class Period. The average quarterly revenue reported during the Class Period was $1.2 billion, an 80 percent increase over pre-COVID-19 revenues and a 28 percent increase over its reported revenues for the first year of the pandemic. Unbeknownst to investors, Defendants artificially inflated these revenues through fraudulent accounting and channel stuffing schemes to mislead investors into believing that Catalent was generating sustainable revenue growth. Defendants’ fraud caused Catalent stock to trade at a record high of $142.64 per share on September 9, 2021 and an average closing price of approximately $108.00 per share during the Class Period.
Statements made by Defendants throughout the Class Period were materially false and misleading when made because they misrepresented or failed to disclose the following adverse facts, which were known to Defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:
a. Catalent materially overstated its revenue and earnings by prematurely recognizing revenue in violation of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”);
b. Catalent had material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting related to revenue recognition;
c. Catalent falsely represented demand for its products while it knowingly sold more product to its direct customers than could be sold to healthcare providers and end consumers;
d. Catalent disregarded regulatory rules at key production facilities in order to rapidly produce excess inventory that was used to pad the Company’s financial results through premature revenue recognition in violation of GAAP and/or stuffing its direct customers with this excess inventory; and
e. As a result of the foregoing, Defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about the Company’s financial performance, outlook, and regulatory compliance during the Class Period.
Catalent’s misrepresentations were first revealed to the market on August 29, 2022, when the Company disclosed that demand for its COVID-related products was facing substantial headwinds. On this news, Catalent’s stock price declined by 7.4 percent to close at $92.28 per share on August 29, 2022.
Then, on September 20, 2022, a Washington Post report exposed that the release of COVID-19 vaccines produced by Catalent had been delayed by regulators because of improper sterilization at one of Catalent’s key facilities. On this news, Catalent’s stock price declined by 9.3 percent over two trading sessions, to close at $79.06 per share on September 22, 2022.
On November 1, 2022, Catalent revealed that its quarterly earnings had declined to zero and lowered its financial guidance, indicating falling demand. The Company also disclosed that regulatory issues at its key facilities were negatively impacting its financial results. On this news, Catalent’s stock price declined by 31.7 percent over two trading sessions, to close at $44.90 per share on November 2, 2022. All told, over the course of the Class period, Catalent stock fell from a high above $142.00 to close at $44.90 on November 2, 2022, a more than 68 percent decline.
On November 16, 2022, Catalent revealed that it was carrying approximately $400 million in excess inventory, further revealing that the Company had misrepresented demand for its products as well as its purported ability to predict future demand. On this news, Catalent’s stock price declined by 8.5 percent, over two trading sessions, to close at $42.07 per share on November 17, 2022.
Then, on December 8, 2022, GlassHouse Research published a report claiming that Catalent had been materially overstating its revenues by $568.2 million in violation of GAAP. The report detailed numerous red flags that were indicative of Catalent’s improper accounting practices. These red flags included the rapid increase in Catalent’s contract asset and inventory balances, declining customer deposits, executive turnover, and recent scrutiny of the Company’s revenue accounting by regulators. The report also described how Catalent’s direct customers were stuffed with excess inventory which “will take years to unwind.” On this news, Catalent’s stock price declined 3.6 percent to close at $45.54 per share on December 8, 2022.
As a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of Catalent securities, Plaintiff and other Class members have suffered significant losses and damages.
For more information on the Catalent class action go to: https://bespc.com/cases/LLAP
Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA)
Class Period: February 19, 2019 – February 17, 2023
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: April 28, 2023
Tesla designs and manufactures electric vehicles, battery energy storage, solar panels and roof tiles, and related products and services. Tesla is headquartered in Austin, Texas and incorporated in Delaware. The Company’s common stock trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market (“NASDAQ”) under the ticker symbol “TSLA”.
In 2014, Tesla announced Tesla Autopilot (“Autopilot”), a suite of purportedly advanced driver-assistance system (“ADAS”) features including automated lane-centering, traffic-aware cruise control, lane changes, semi-autonomous navigation, and self-parking. In September 2014, all Tesla cars started shipping with the sensors and software necessary to support the Autopilot system. Since then, the Company has touted refinements and enhancements to the Company’s ADAS and Autopilot features, including so-called “Full Self-Driving” (“FSD”) software, which purportedly enables Tesla vehicles to drive autonomously to a destination entered in the car’s navigation system.
Throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Defendants had significantly overstated the efficacy, viability, and safety of the Company’s Autopilot and FSD technologies; (ii) contrary to Defendants’ representations, Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD technologies created a serious risk of accident and injury associated with the operation of Tesla vehicles; (iii) all the foregoing subjected Tesla to an increased risk of regulatory and governmental scrutiny and enforcement action, as well as reputational harm; and (iv) as a result, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.
On April 18, 2021, media outlets reported that a Tesla vehicle with “no one” driving it had crashed into a tree, killing two passengers near Houston, Texas in a “fiery” crash. A Harris County Precinct constable told local news station KPRC 2 that the investigation showed “no one was driving” the 2019 Tesla vehicle when the accident occurred.
On this news, Tesla’s stock price fell $25.15 per share, or 3.4%, to close at $714.63 per share on April 19, 2021.
On August 16, 2021, media outlets reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) had opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles. The scope of the investigation included 765,000 vehicles, or nearly every vehicle that Tesla has sold in the U.S. since the start of the 2014 model year.
On this news, Tesla’s stock price fell $31.00 per share, or 4.32%, to close at $686.17 per share on August 16, 2021.
On June 3, 2022, media outlets reported that NHTSA had issued a formal inquiry to Tesla about the Autopilot and FSD features for certain models of its vehicles after receiving complaints from more than 750 owners of the vehicles about sudden and unexpected braking with no immediate cause.
On this news, Tesla’s stock price fell $71.45 per share, or 9.22%, to close at $703.55 per share on June 3, 2022.
On January 27, 2023, media outlets reported that the SEC was investigating statements made by Tesla and its Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), Defendant Elon R. Musk (“Musk”), concerning the Autopilot system, including whether Musk made inappropriate forward-looking statements regarding the Autopilot system.
On this news, Tesla’s stock price fell $11.24 per share, or 6.32%, to close at $166.66 per share on January 30, 2023.
On February 16, 2023, media outlets reported that NHTSA had ordered a recall of nearly 363,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with the Company’s FSD “Beta” software, stating that the software may allow the equipped vehicles to act “in an unlawful or unpredictable manner,” increasing the risk of a crash.
On this news, Tesla’s stock price fell $12.20 per share, or 5.69%, to close at $202.04 per share on February 16, 2023.
Then, on February 18, 2023, media outlets reported that a Tesla vehicle had crashed into a fire truck that was responding to an earlier accident, killing the driver and injuring a passenger and four firefighters. News reports linked the crash with prior reports of Tesla vehicles crashing into stationary emergency vehicles as a consequence of poorly performing ADAS technologies, increasing market and public concerns regarding the Autopilot system in Tesla’s vehicles.
On this news, Tesla’s stock price fell $10.94 per share, or 5.25%, to close at $197.37 per share on February 21, 2023, the next trading day.
As a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline in the market value of the Company’s common stock, Plaintiff and other Class members have suffered significant losses and damages.
For more information on the Tesla class action go to: https://bespc.com/cases/TSLA
DLocal Ltd (NASDAQ: DLO)
Class Period: In connection with the June 2021 IPO
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: May 1, 2023
DLocal, which conducted its IPO in New York and trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “DLO,” connects global merchants to emerging markets, earning revenues from fees charged to merchants in connection with payment processing services for cross-border and local payment transactions.
In June 2021, Defendants (defined below) commenced DLocal’s IPO, issuing over 33.8 million shares at $21.00 per share, including the full exercise of the Underwriter Defendants’ (defined herein) option to purchase additional shares, all pursuant to the Registration Statement.
Among other things, the Registration Statement repeatedly touts DLocal’s supposed “growing and deepening relationships” with new and existing global merchant clients. The Registration Statement tells prospective investors that DLocal measures its success by means of its “cohort” performance in terms of TPV, or total payment volume, and offers historic TPV data to support the narrative that DLocal has a strong track record. In addition, the Registration Statement advises prospective investors that a remediation plan designed to improve the Company’s internal controls over financial reporting is being implemented, assuring the market that DLocal is serious about its internal controls over financial reporting.
The Registration Statement’s numerous representations about DLocal’s TPV and its internal controls over financial reporting, however, contained untrue statements of material fact and omitted to state material facts both required by governing regulations and necessary to make the statements made not misleading. Specifically, the Registration Statement misrepresents the TPV derived from new merchants in DLocal’s 2019 and 2020 cohorts, which, at the time of the IPO, were severely lower than what the Registration Statement reported, as well as the fact that the remediation plan DLocal implemented before the IPO was patently defective and, thus, incapable of improving the Company’s internal controls over financial reporting.
When the truth regarding the Company’s TPV and internal controls reached the market, DLocal’s common stock cratered over 50%. All told, investors have lost hundreds of millions of dollars.
For more information on the DLocal class action go to: https://bespc.com/cases/DLO
Cognyte Software Ltd. (NASDAQ: CGNT)
Class Period: February 2, 2021 – June 28, 2022
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: May 1, 2023
On December 16, 2021, after the market closed, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, issued a “Threat Report,” which included the results of its “months long” investigation into the “surveillance-for-hire industry,” revealing for the first time that Cognyte (along with six private companies) regularly targeted, without their knowledge, journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes, families of opposition, and human rights activists around the world, and collected intelligence on these people by manipulating them to reveal information and/or by compromising their devices and accounts, in violation of Facebook’s “multiple community standards and Terms of Service.” In particular, the Threat Report revealed that Cognyte “sells access to its platform which enables managing fake accounts across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and VKontakte (VK), and other websites to social-engineer people and collect data.” This conduct “violated multiple Community Standards and Terms of Service,” and “given the severity of their violations,” Meta disabled Cognyte’s ability to use its platforms (removing about 100 accounts on Facebook and Instagram), shared its findings with security researchers, other platforms, and policymakers, issued Cease and Desist warnings, and alerted the nearly 50,000 individuals (across 100 countries) who were believed to be targeted to help them strengthen the security of their accounts.
On this news, the price of Cognyte’s common stock fell 5.11%, closing on December 17, 2021, at $18 per share, before declining another 5.5% the next trading day. By December 22, 2021, Cognyte’s stock had fallen to trade at $15 per share, representing a decline of nearly 21%.
Then, on April 5, 2022, Cognyte issued its Annual Report on Form 20-F for the period ended January 31, 2022 (the “2021 Annual Report”), revealing that the Company was forced to modify its solutions in response to the Threat Report, stating in relevant part:
On the same day it published its 2021 Annual Report, Cognyte reported its fourth quarter 2021 financial results, representing the period during which Facebook disrupted and disabled Cognyte’s use of its platforms for purposes of reconnaissance. Cognyte badly missed analyst consensus estimates for non-GAAP earnings per share and sales, and significantly undershot the midpoint of its guidance range by several millions of dollars, citing in the Company’s accompanying press release “lower conversions within [its] product pipeline,” among other macroenvironmental challenges. Specifically, the Company’s non-GAAP earnings of $0.16 per share were not only down significantly from the $0.36 per share it earned in the year-ago quarter but also $0.06 per share below analysts’ expectations of $0.22 per share. Similarly, Cognyte’s sales of $124.9 million, representing a less than 1% increase from the year-ago period, also came significantly below analysts’ consensus estimate of $129.6 million.
The response from analysts was swift with many reducing their price targets, including Wedbush, who lowered their price target from $17 to $9 and concluded: [T]he Cognyte business model is turning into a debacle of [ ] epic proportions for investors that once believed in the story. Since the spin-off from Verint over the past year, the Cognyte story ha[s] been a nightmare for investors as the execution shortfalls, longer sales cycles, and myriad of challenges has created a perfect storm for the Street. Most troubling to us is that CGNT was unable to guide for 1Q23 and 2023, which means to us that management may not have their arms around the sales execution and headwinds in our opinion.
The market also responded immediately and harshly. Cognyte’s stock price plummeted over 31% on unusually high trading volume, closing at $8.03 per share on April 5, 2022, which was down $3.63 per share from its April 4, 2022 close of $11.66 per share.
Then, on June 28, 2022, Cognyte released its first quarter 2022 financial results, which, once again, badly missed analyst estimates across the board. Cognyte’s 1Q22 revenue of $87 million, for example, represented a decline of 25%. Analysts were expecting a decline of 2%.
In response, analysts immediately downgraded the Company’s rating and reduced their price targets. William Blair, for example, downgraded Cognyte to “market perform” and concluded that Cognyte’s “low pipeline conversion” issues were a symptom of a broader problem, stating in relevant part:
Cognyte’s brand has been negatively impacted by increased scrutiny of the cyber intelligence industry and fellow Israel cyber surveillance firm NSO Group. Last fall, the U.S. government blacklisted the NSO Group after a multitude of reports surfaced that its software was being used inappropriately by governments to spy on citizens with dissenting views. While we believe there is value to cyber intelligence we believe that it is important for investors and customers that there are rigid safeguards in place and high transparency to ensure that the software is used in an ethical manner.
On this news, Cognyte’s shares declined $1.84, or over 28.66%, to close at $4.58 per share.
For more information on the Cognyte class action go to: https://bespc.com/cases/CGNT
About Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C.:
Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C. is a nationally recognized law firm with offices in New York, California, and South Carolina. The firm represents individual and institutional investors in commercial, securities, derivative, and other complex litigation in state and federal courts across the country. For more information about the firm, please visit www.bespc.com. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.
Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C.
Brandon Walker, Esq.
Melissa Fortunato, Esq.
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