Twitter has reached an $809 million class action lawsuit settlement to resolve claims that the company "provided misleading user-engagement info to investors".
A lawsuit filed in 2016 alleged that Jack Dorsey and former CEO Dick Costolo, in addition to board member Evan Williams, hid information about the social media company's slowing user growth while they sold their personal stock holdings. The sales netted "hundreds of millions of dollars in insider profits," the suit alleged, according to Variety.
Among the allegations were that the company didn’t reveal that to investors that its DAU figures showed that user engagement was flat or declining at the time.
Twitter's 8-K, filed Monday, read:
The binding agreement, which is subject to certain conditions, including court approval of a final settlement agreement, requires the Company to pay $809.5 million for claims alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The binding agreement does not, and the final settlement agreement will not, include or constitute an admission, concession, or finding of any fault, liability, or wrongdoing by the Company or any defendant. There can be no assurance that the final settlement agreement will be executed or that such agreement will be approved by the court.
The Company intends to use cash on hand to pay the settlement amount, which is expected to be paid in the fourth quarter of 2021. The Company expects to record a charge for the settlement during the third quarter of 2021.
While Twitter will be able to easily pay the settlement with its over $4 billion on hand, the $800 million amount isn't immaterial.
Meanwhile Twitter went ahead an started using the mDAU data it now uses with its Q4 2018 results, explaining to investors that it "best reflects its goals of driving monetizing usage".
mDAUs are described as "the average number of 'people, organizations or other accounts who logged in or were otherwise authenticated and accessed Twitter on any given day through twitter.com or Twitter applications that are able to show ads.'"