H.J. Heinz Co. and its directors were sued by investors who contend they will be shortchanged in the ketchup maker’s proposed $23 billion acquisition by Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.
Heinz, based in Pittsburgh, said Feb. 14 that Berkshire and 3G will pay $72.50 a share, a 20 percent premium at the time and the largest-ever food industry transaction.
The buyout stems from “an unfair process” and allows the board and management to cash in more than 5.6 million shares of otherwise “illiquid holdings” for more than $400 million, James Clem, a Heinz shareholder, said in one of two complaints filed Friday in federal court in Pittsburgh. Investors’ lawyers ask for a jury trial and an order to stop the buyout under its present terms.