When business judgement rule meets business valuers

Upon instruction by the III Section “Corporate Law” of The First Instance Court of Rome we have filed our independent expert report concerning alleged misconduct by the management board and by the statutory auditors of one the largest, once listed, now defunct Italian OLO-ISP that was declared insolvent in 2008. The Company Receiver had sued for damages more than forty former managers and auditors that were in charge during the ten years of the Company’s existence. In our opinion, based on about ten-thousand pages of documents read and analysed (board records, financial statements, business plans, research reports, IPO prospectuses, valuation reports, business plans and more), no sufficient evidence emerged that managers had not acted in good faith and not made rational and informed – although unsuccessful – decisions. In spite of expanding rapidly and steadily its market share and its shareholders pouring, year by year, tens of million Euros to cover losses, the Company was eventually unable to reach the critical mass needed to become profitable in the increasingly stiff and competitive TLC-environment. Failure to achieve business goals does not, however, necessarily imply misconduct and hindsight should, in our view, carefully be kept apart from sound judgement of past business facts and economic circumstances.