Upstart Hit With Another Lawsuit

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A new lawsuit brought by a shareholder of Upstart is also being brought derivatively on behalf of Upstart. That’s because plaintiff alleges that the Directors of the company would otherwise have to sue themselves or the company’s executives for the damage caused, a highly unlikely course of action.

Plaintiff alleges the company or certain directors and executives violated Section 14(a) of the Exchange Act, breached fiduciary duties, were unjustly enriched, abused their control, grossly mismanaged the company, wasted corporate assets, and violated Section 10(b) and 21D of the Exchange Act.

Things are not exactly great in shareholder land. The company’s stock as of May 4th close was $93.57 and is now currently hovering around $24.49. The plunge began when the company released its poorly-received quarterly earnings on May 9th. For a long time, the company had asserted it was not a balance sheet lender, but a shift in economic conditions was causing that to change.

The unwelcome quarterly earnings report was coincidentally timed after Upstart CEO David Girouard had sold more than $200M worth of company stock in the previous 8 month span and co-founder and SVP Paul Gu sold $140M worth over nearly the same time period.

Then, in August, Girouard said, “In the last few months, lenders and institutional credit investors reacted more quickly and abruptly than we anticipated. Despite the fact that our bank partners have seen consistently strong credit performance, meaning portfolios performing at or above plan across quarterly cohorts, several of them have paused or reduced originations due to fear about the future of the economy.”

Plaintiff alleges that false and misleading statements allowed the stock price to be propped up while insiders sold their stock on material non-public information. The full complaint can be viewed here.

This lawsuit is separate from a securities class action filed earlier this year.

Last modified: October 13, 2022

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