Custodian seeks info on employee ‘leakers’ in disputed TransPerfect sales effort

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The battle over the sale of translation service TransPerfect now extends to the public relations effort from an employee group.

Tusk Strategies and Chris Coffey of Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware have asked aNew York court to quash the nonparty subpoenas and for a protective order.

The custodian working to effect a sale of the company claims leaks from employees are hampering the process of selling the company.

“The Subpoenas that Petitioners challenge are designed to chill civil discourse on a matter of public importance,” Chris Coffey stated. “This court-ordered sale is unprecedented. It is the first time a Delaware court has forced the sale of an ongoing and profitable Delaware company without stockholders’ consent. The forced sale has potentially significant implications for the future of TransPerfect’s employees’ jobs.”

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Cofffey continued, “Throughout the sale process, Citizens has tried to draw attention to its members’ concerns about the sale process and its implications. To that end, in late July 2017, Citizens ran (1) a press release referencing concerns that one potential bidder might move their jobs offshore, and (2) another press release and advertisement that listed the fees charged by the Custodian and the many advisors he has hired to assist him in selling the company, collectively totaling more than $20 million over an 18-month period. In response to these two press releases and advertisement by Citizens, the Custodian claims he needs to identify any TransPerfect employees who allegedly disclosed this information – notwithstanding that much of this information was already public.”

Coffey concluded, “The Subpoenas are vastly overbroad and duplicative, and they are nothing more than an attempt to cause ‘unreasonable annoyance, expense, embarrassment, disadvantage, or other prejudice’ to Tusk and Coffey – and, by association, Citizens-as a consequence for the assistance they provided to TransPerfect employees and Delaware citizens in voicing their concerns regarding the Delaware court’s unprecedented actions.”

Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware has been running advertisements and issuing press releases opposing the sales process.

Citizens has drawn the ire of the custodian, members of the corporate bar and some legislators for its advertisements and press releases that indicate the dispute will harm the state’s incorporation business, a key source of tax and fee revenues.

The sale process comes after co-owners Philip Shawe and Elizabeth Elting have been unable to come up with an agreement to sell the company.

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